#RedSox Game Summary (April 6) Bada-boom! The Red Sox started the new season with a bang in this interleague matchup with the lowly Philadelphia Phillies, scoring 8 runs on 5 homers, the last being a towering grand slam by Hanley Ramirez (his second). Dustin Pedroia also hammered two, and the other came from the wunderkind, Mookie Betts. Irony abounded as the Phillies’ starting pitcher was the Red Sox’ long sought-after prize, Cole Hamels, who took the loss (4 runs on 5 hits with 6 strikeouts over 5 innings). Clay Buccholz looked like an ace, as he always does early in the year, going 7 innings and giving up just 3 hits and 1 walk while punching out 9. Boston beat Philadelphia 8-0 at Citizens’ Bank Park. Record: 1-0. Game 1/161.
#RedSox Game Summary (April 8). Did you say “oops”? Rick Porcello just signed a new 4 year $82.5 million contract, so he should have been feeling pretty good. Maybe too good. In the bottom of the 6th, he tried to slip a hanging slider past Jeff Francoeur, who hit his first homer in 2 years. Oops. Then in the next inning, Ben Revere reached when Pablo Sandoval misplayed a grounder, and Mike Napoli couldn’t handle his throw. Revere stretched the play to third, and scored on a sac fly by Chase Utley. Oops again. Although the Sox got 2 back, it was not enough as the Boston fell to Philadelphia, 4-2, at Citizens’ Bank Park. Record: 1-1. Game 2/160.
#RedSox Game Summary (April 9) I get by with a little help from my foes. Although the Red Sox played a fairly solid game, they got some help from the Phillies as Philadelphia starter David Buchanan walked the bases loaded with 2 out in the 3rd, and then after giving up a run on a Shane Victorino single, walked in another. Then, a misplay by Jeff Francouer in right off Xander Bogaerts’ bloop hit allowed 3 runs to score, and Xander to stretch the hit out to a triple. One of the only solid hits of the game came off the bat of Red Sox starter Justin Masterson (National League rules, showing once again why we should dump the DH) who was celebrating his first start since returning to Boston. It all added up to a 6-2 Boston drubbing of Philadelphia at Citizens’ Bank Park. Record: 2-1. Game 3/159.
#RedSox Game Summary (April 10) Some games you win, some you simply survive. The Red Sox had a 3-0 lead against the Yankees going into the bottom of the 6th inning, but the Yanks had not read the script, and refused to lose. So, they came back with 2 in the 6th, and Chase Hedley’s homer in the 9th tied it at 3. Big Papi homered in the 16th to put the Sox ahead, but in the bottom of the inning, Mark Texiera returned the favor, and so the game went on. Panda drove Pedey home for another go-ahead run in the 18th, but once again, the Yankees would not go quietly, as John Ryan Murphy, who had come in to pinch run for catcher Brian McCann, scored on a Carlos Beltran double. Finally, Xander Bogaerts scored on a sac fly by Mookie Betts, and this time the Sox held in the bottom, thanks in part to a nifty move by Pedey to turn the game ending double play. Wade Miley and Nathan Eovaldi had started for the Red Sox and Yankees, respectively, but both clubs used their entire bullpens in this 19 inning affair, with Steven Wright (who heads to Pawtucket to make room for Joe Kelly) getting the win. The total game time was 6 hours and 49 minutes, which did not include a 16 minute delay due to an electrical problem. Boston beat New York at Yankee Stadium, 6-5 (19 innings). Record: 3-1. Game 4 / 158.
#RedSox Game Summary (April 11). Learning on the job. Scott Hatteberg: “But the thing, thing is is that…” Billy Beane: “You don’t know how to play 1st base. Scott…” Hatteberg: “That’s right.” Beane: “It’s not that hard, Scott. Tell him Wash.” Ron Washington: “It’s incredibly hard.” (from “Moneyball’) Alex Rodriguez found out how hard it is, and was tentative all day, with lots of two-handed catches and a couple of muffed plays. His uncertainty seemed to affect the whole infield, leading to bad throws and bad decisions for the Yankees. No such excuse for their outfield, who also blew some key plays. Meanwhile, the Red Sox were making all the right moves, executing fundamentals, and kept the pressure on for the whole game. Joe Kelly, just promoted from Pawtucket to start this game, seemed more than ready for prime time, going 7 innings, giving up 1 run on 1 hit with just 1 walk and 8 Ks for the win. Daniel Nava, Dustin Pedroia, and Brock Holt all doubled, aided somewhat by misjudgments in the Yankee outfield. The only dark cloud for Boston involved Alexi Ogando, who just could not get out of the 8th inning, and surrendered a 3 run blast to Chris Young. Boston beat New York at Yankee Stadium, 8-4. Record: 4-1. Game 5/157.
#RedSox Game Summary (April 12) Clay pigeon. This game was basically over in the first inning when Clay Buchholz, unable to get a real feel for his pitches or the strike zone, gave up 7 runs on a single, a double, and two homers. John Farrell was obviously unwilling to give up on Clay right away, given that he had spent his entire bullpen on the 19 inning marathon two days earlier, tried to stretch him as long as he could but it was hopeless. On the positive side, Hanley Ramirez homered, and Xander Bogaerts double in various attempts to come back, but in the end, New York topped Boston at Yankee Stadium, 14-4. Record: 4-2. Game 6/156.
#RedSox Game Summary (April 13) Super dupers and bloopers. On this Fenway Opening Day, most of the bloopers belonged to the Nationals, whose outfielders seemed unable to find the ball in the sun, and whose infielders made mental mistakes. The Red Sox also flubbed a bit, committing 2 errors. The super dupers included sparking play in the field by Xander Bogaerts, Pablo Sandoval, and Mike Napoli. The star of the game, though, was Mookie Betts. His play was sparkling, he stole two bases in succession on the Ortiz shift to set up a score, and he went 2-for-4 including a towering 3 run jack. Rick Porcello turned in 8 fairly decent innings, though he was touched for 4 runs (3 earned) on 4 hits, including 2 homers and a triple. Boston beat Washington in interleague play, 9-4 at Fenway Park. Record: 5-2. Game 7/155.
#RedSox Game Summary (April 14) Not an instructional video. April baseball is so interesting. Players are getting used to playing again, to the ballpark, to each other. While both teams had some miscues in this one, the Nationals’ fielding in the 7th inning may make the all time blooper reel. By the 5th inning, the Sox had built up a 5-1 lead on solid hitting, including a double by Mookie Betts and a homer by Dustin Pedroia. Then they saw that lead turn into a 7-5 deficit when starter Justin Masterson suddenly seemed to lose control, surrendering 6 earned runs. But have no fear, because in the 7th, Hanley Ramirez reached on an error, and Shane Victorino and Allen Craig were hit by pitches. Then the fun really began. Ryan Hannigan bounced one back to the mound. Washington pitcher Blake Treinen fumbled for the ball, then in a panic while trying to toss to home for the force, threw it away, allowing 2 runs to score. When Brock Holt grounded sharply to shortstop Ian Desmond, rather than throwing home (with the runner still a good 45 feet away), Desmond threw to first, allowing Allen Craig to score the leading run. Edward Mujica and Koji Uehara cleaned up the mess. Boston beat Washington in interleague play, 8-7, at Fenway Park. Record: 6-2. Game 8/154.
#RedSox Game Summary (April 15) Battling bats. The Boston bats lost, as Washington came out with a vengeance to avoid a sweep. They hammered Boston starter Wade Miley for 8 runs, including a key home run by Ian Desmond, driving Miley from the game after just 3 innings. The Red Sox came back to make a game of it in the 5th and 6th innings, thanks to a 2 run homer by Hanley Ramirez in the 5th, and a Brock Holt ground rule double that scored Mike Napoli in the 6th. But the Nats put it out of reach in the 7th with a 2 run dinger by Tyler Moore. Washington beat Boston, 10-5, in interleague play at Fenway Park. Record: 6-3. Game 9/153.
#RedSox Game Summary (April 17) A walk is as good as a hit, and sometimes, a blooper is as good as a homer. The Orioles gave Red Sox starter Joe Kelly a tough time, scoring 2 runs in the first five innings, and causing his early exit in the 6th. Happily, he left with the score tied (so he was not on the hook for a loss) due to a 2 run bomb by catcher Ryan Hanigan. The game remained knotted until Xander Bogaerts drove in Mike Napoli with a looping Texas Leaguer to right in the bottom of the ninth, for his first career walk-off hit. Boston beat Baltimore, 3-2, at Fenway Park. Record: 7-3. Game 10/152.
#RedSox Game Summary (April 18) The Perils of Buchholz. In the classic serial, “The Perils of Pauline” each episode would end with the heroine getting in mortal danger, only to escape miraculously. Clay Buchholz flirted with danger for 6 innings, and though he did give up 11 hits and a walk, they amounted to only 2 runs for the Baltimore Orioles. When Big Papi scored on a Pablo Sandoval fielder’s choice, the game looked winnable. But in the 9th, Robbie Ross served up a fastball that Chris Davis took deep, and that was, essentially, the ballgame. Baltimore beat Boston, 4-1, at Fenway Park. Record: 7-4. Game 11/151.
#RedSox Game Summary (April 19) Sometimes, “up” is not good. When your grades are up, that’s good. When sales are up, that’s good. When your mood is up, that’s good. When your sinker is up, that’s not good. Red Sox starter Rick Porcello’s sinker was up for most of the game, and the Orioles took full advantage, with homers by Adam Jones and Ryan Flaherty in the first and second innings, and a bevy of hits to follow, capped off by a 3 run double by Jones in the 6th to chase Porcello from the game. The Red Sox scored all their runs in the first with a 3 run blast off the bat of Hanley Ramirez. Big Papi expressed his frustration, getting ejected by home plate umpire John Trumpane for arguing that he had checked his swing on a strike two pitch low (the replay suggested that he had a case). Miguel Gonzalez picked up the win for the Birds, while Porcello absorbed his second loss. Baltimore beat Boston, 8-3, at Fenway Park. Record: 7-5. Game 12/150.
#RedSox Game Summary (April 20) Soggy success. The Red Sox piled up hits and runs in the 1st, 3rd, and 6th innings of this rain-shorted Patriots’ Day game. The wet conditions seemed to favor Boston, as the O’s committed 3 errors, including a fumbled come-backer by starter Wei-Yin Chen. The scoring was capped with a 2 run double by Dustin Pedroia, despite apparent fan interference (note to fans: DO NOT INTERFERE WITH BALLS IN PLAY). Justin Masterson looked pretty strong in his 5 innings, his only struggles coming in the 2nd, when he gave up a triple to Travis Snyder, who scored on a Ryan Flaherty double. Hanley Ramirez left the game after 2 innings due to illness. Let’s hope he recovers soon. The game was called in the middle of the 7th, which should have given fans a chance to head down to Eastern Standard early and enjoy their favorite libations while watching the runners go by. Masterson came away with his second win, and Chen took the loss. Boston beat Baltimore, 7-1 (6.5 innings), at Fenway Park. Record: 8-5. Game 13/149.
#RedSox Game Summary (April 21) One may be the loneliest number, but sometimes it’s all you need. The Red Sox scored the only run they needed when Dustin Pedroia grounded into a force play, and Ryan Hanigan came home on a throwing error by Rays’ second baseman Ryan Brett. Meanwhile, the Red Sox pitching staff had a combined shutout to hand Wade Miley his first win (5 IP, 3 hits, 4 walks, 3 punch-outs). Koji Uehara shut the door in the 9th, thanks in part to a sterling double play (Panda to Pedey to Nava) for his 2nd save. Brock Holt looked superb in the field despite his continued slump at the plate. Boston beat Tampa Bay at Tropicana Field, 1-0. Record 9-5. Game 14/148.
#RedSox Game Summary (April 22) Live by the bat, die by the bat. The Red Sox built up a sizable lead over Tampa Bay, aided by mighty blasts from Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz, to enjoy a 5-1 lead in the 6th. Then Boston starter Joe Kelly had his meltdown, giving up four consecutive singles, for one run, then walking in another, and leaving the bases loaded for Craig Breslow, who promptly surrendered another single to score 2 more and tie the game. After that, the Rays’ Brad Boxberger entered the game and shut Boston down from there. In the 7th, Asdrubal Cabrera scored on a double play, and Jake Elmore hit a massive solo dinger to seal the Rays’ victory. Boston fell to Tampa Bay, 7-5, at Tropicana Field. Record: 9-6. Game 15/147.
#RedSox Game Summary (April 23) No pop at the Trop. The Red Sox and Rays were both stifled for most of the game, until its untimely end. Clay Buchholz was solid for 6 innings except for a couple of mistakes in the 2nd, that allowed Evan Longoria to hit a ground-rule double and score on a single by Logan Forsythe. In the first half of the inning, the Sox got their only run when Pablo Sandoval doubled, and scored on a Daniel Nava sac fly. That’s how it stayed, 1-1, until the bottom of the 9th, when Tim Beckham, running for Allan Dykstra (who singled), scored on a single by Rene Rivera for the walk-off Tampa Bay win. Tampa Bay beat Boston, 2-1, at Tropicana Field. Record: 9-7. Game 16/146.
#RedSox Game Summary (April 24) You’re going back, Jack, and do it again. Back-to-back jacks by David Ortiz and Hanley Ramirez gave the Red Sox a 4-2 lead in the 5th inning. It didn’t last, as the Orioles came back to tie the game in the 7th on a sac fly by Everth Cabrera. But Brock Holt, who seems to be able to do anything, hammered a 3 run shot in the 8th, that put the game in Boston’s column. Rick Porcello started this game, but a 2 run dinger by Jimmy Paredes, an RBI single by Cabrera (who drove in Rey Navarro, who in turn drove a fly to left that, to be honest, Ramirez totally misplayed), and the 7th inning score, drove him from the game with 6+ innings and a no decision. Alexi Ogando took the win, and Koji Uehara got the save. Boston beat Baltimore at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, 7-5. Record: 10-7. Game 17/145.
#RedSox Game Summary (April 25) Sayonara, Uehara. Koji came on in the bottom of the 10th to protect a fragile 4-3 lead against the Baltimore Orioles, but his fastball was not so fast, and his slider didn’t slide. So, he was hit hard. Adam Jones tripled, and scored on a deep fly ball by Chris Davis to tie the score. Then, David Lough took Koji deep to end the thing. Too bad things ended that way, because this was a taut pitching face-off up to that point, with Justin Masterson getting into and, usually, out of trouble for 7 innings (never mind the Jimmy Paredes homer in the 5th) for a 7 inning outing that yielded 3 runs on 7 hits, 3 strikeouts, and a walk. Baltimore’s Wei Yin Chen was masterful over 8 innings, surrendering 2 runs on Mike Napoli’s 2 run bomb, but nothing more. The baseball gods seemed to be favoring the Sox in the 9th, when a series of odd singles and an error led to a game-tying score by Pedey (who had walked), ultimately to force extra frames. When Xander Bogaerts got his first home run of the season, it looked like this was a win that was meant to be. Only not. Baltimore beat Boston, 5-4 (10 innings), at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Record: 10-8. Game 18/144.
#RedSox Game Summary (April 26) No mercy. If this had been international play, the game would have been over in the 7th. But there is no mercy rule in the major leagues, so the Red Sox had to endure a full 9 innings of humiliation. The Orioles blew Sox starter Wade Miley out of the box early, after a flurry of hits gave them a 5-0 lead in the bottom of the 3rd, and they picked up a 6th in the same inning off reliever Anthony Vavaro (the run was charged to Miley as well). By the time the O’s were done, they had scored 18 times on 20 hits, including 4 doubles, a triple, and a homer, blasting away the entire pitching staff except Edward Mujica, who managed to end the bloodbath in the 8th. On the plus side, Pablo Sandoval got his first home run in a Red Sox uniform, and Hanley Ramirez walloped two in a losing cause. Normally, scoring 7 runs on 9 hits would be good enough to win, but on this day, it simply made the final score a little less embarrassing. Baltimore crushed Boston, 18-7, at Orioles Park at Camden Yards. Record: 10-9. Game 19/143.
#RedSox Game Summary (April 27) When he was good, he was very, very good, and when he was bad, he was horrid. (Apologies to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow) Red Sox starter Joe Kelly had another one of his very inconsistent games, but spectacular way the game ended makes us want to forget about how it started. Kelly is a very talented pitcher, with a nasty slider and a 96 MPH fastball. But when his slider doesn’t slide, and his breaking ball doesn’t break, they tend to end up against the fence, or over it. Joe Kelly gave up 5 runs on 5 hits and 3 walks to the Blue Jays, including a double by Russell Martin and a homer by Devon Travis. He also struck out 10, with several batters slamming their helmets and bats into the ground in frustration. Fortunately, the Red Sox were also giving Toronto starter Aaron Sanchez a hard time, including doubles by Big Papi and Mookie Betts, and a solo homer by Panda, so the Sox were trailing by only a run after 5. So things remained until the 8th, when they managed to load the bases with nobody out, but scored just one run on a sac fly by Hanley Ramirez. Still, manager John Farrell had enough faith in his boys to send closer Koji Uehara into the 9th with a tie score. His faith was rewarded when, after Koji retired the side in order, Xander Bogaerts and Ryan Hanigan reached with back-to-back singles and advanced on a wild pitch. Then the guy who always seem to come up big in these situations did it again, as Betts lined a single to center, scoring Bogaerts for the walk-off win. Boston beat Toronto, 6-5, at Fenway Park. Record: 11-9. Game 20/142.
#RedSox Game Summary (April 28). This is why pitching matters. I have heard some say, “With all the firepower in the Red Sox lineup, why do you need an ace pitcher?” Because when you are struggling, you need someone to stop the bleeding. Today, we had Clay Buchholz, who melted down in the third inning, giving up 5 runs on a walk and a seemingly endless series of hits to the Toronto Blue Jays. Even though Boston had scored 4 runs, and continued to score often, thanks in part to doubles by Pablo Sandoval, Mookie Betts, and David Ortiz, and a home run by Hanley Ramirez, it was not enough. Toronto beat Boston, 11-8, at Fenway Park. Record: 11-10. Game 21/141.
#RedSox Game Summary (April 29) Ricky. Don’t lose that number. (Steely Dan fans, don’t write in; I know what I did there.) So yesterday, we saw what happens when a slugging team gets a really awful pitching start. They fall behind way early, and althought they try to battle back, the hitters are tense, the bullpen is under a lot of pressure, and opposing batters swagger up to the plate and whack the hell out of the ball, resulting in a discouraging 11-8 loss. Today, we saw what happens when that same team, facing those same Toronto Blue Jays, gets an excellent pitching start (Rick Porcello went 7 innings, giving up just 1 run on 2 hits, 2 walks and getting 6 strikeouts). We get the Sox scoring all the runs they will need in the 3rd, with Ryan Hanigan singling off the knuckleballer R.A. Dickey and scoring on a David Ortiz hit, then Papi scoring a Hanley Ramirez’s 10th homer of the year. Then, just for good measure, Mookie Betts drives Brock Holt home in the 7th for the 4th Boston run. With a 3 run cushion, Junichi Tazawa can glide through the 8th, and Koji Uehara gets 3 punch-outs for the win in the 9th. In other words, everything works the way it is supposed to. OK. Nice talk. Boston beat Toronto, 4-1, at Fenway Park. Record: 12-10. Game 22/140.
#RedSox Game Summary (May 1) Adding insult to injury. First, what would have been Boston’s 3rd run on a rocket hit into the left field corner by Ryan Hanigan in the 4th is taken away from the Sox due to fan interference (if that fan lives in the Boston area, he would be well advised to have appearance-altering surgery), then the despised A-Rod hits a pinch-hit homer for the Yankees’ 3rd run, and the eventual game-winner, off Junichi Tazawa in the 8th. Too bad, too, because Justin Masterson had a fairly creditable outing, going 6 innings and giving up 2 runs on 6 hits and 3 walks. To make matters worse, Rodriguez’s homer was his 660th, tying him with Willie Mays on the all time home run list. CC Sabathia was not like the old CC that we dreaded, but he did manage to hold the Sox to 2 runs over 7 innings, including an unlikely homer by Allen Craig. New York beat Boston, 3-2, at Fenway Park. Record: 12-11. Game 23/139.
#RedSox Game Summary (May 2) Running on empty. The Sox slinked into .500 territory, reflecting their current mediocrity. Yankees starter Nathan Eovaldi was pretty good, but not that good, giving up 7 hits and a walk over 7 innings, while getting 2 punch-outs. Still, the Sox could not put together more than 2 runs from those 7 hits, and one was a homer by Dustin Pedroia. Against the New York bullpen, the Sox could do nothing useful. Meanwhile, Wade Miley had one of his better starts (also 7 hits for 3 runs, no walks, 3 Ks) but for naught, as the Yanks’ Brett Gardner and Chris Young generated 4 runs (Gardner had 3 RBI on 2 hits, and Young had a solo dinger) to ensure another New York win. New York beat Boston, 4-2, at Fenway Park. Record: 12-12. Game 24/138.
#RedSox Game Summary (May 3) What can we do, but tip our caps and call the Yankees our Daddy? Pedro’s iconic quote fits no better than here, where the Yanks completed an early season sweep of the Red Sox at Fenway Park, on the strength of homers by Brett Gardner and Mark Texiera, and 4 hits by our old friend, Jacoby Ellsbury. Once again, Red Sox starting pitcher Joe Kelly, who has excellent abilities, suffered from a lack of control, both of his pitches and of the various critical at-bats he faced, as he surrendered 5 runs in 4 2/3rds innings, and Craig Breslow, who has been a horse in the past, was a nag today, giving up 3 runs on the Gardner dinger. The Sox made a valiant effort to come back, as a Mike Napoli (who finally snapped his maddening slump) homered and Mookie Betts doubled, to lead a 5 run attack, but it was all in vain. New York beat Boston, 8-5, at Fenway Park. Record: 12-13. Game 25/137.
#RedSox Game Summary (May 4) “Well, this sucks.” – the penguins in Antarctica, from “Madagascar” I said a year ago that Clay Buchholz needs to go to the bullpen. I say it again. His effectiveness in the past was due to his fastball and its many variations, but delivering it on a regular basis caused him to hurt himself consistently. His various attempts to adjust his delivery have failed, in the first case to avoid injury, and in the second, to pitch effectively. His current delivery is utterly ineffective, and today’s game is clear evidence of that. Of course, he was hurt by a bit of spectacular bad luck when, in the very first inning, with 2 out, he induced a line drive to left which Hanley Ramirez ran at full steam to catch but, unfortunately, crashed into the wall so hart that he severely sprained his right shoulder. He also dropped the ball, allowing the hitter (James Loney of the Tampa Bay Rays) to reach 2nd, and score, ultimately. Clay hung in there into the 7th inning, giving up 5 runs, and the Red Sox were unable to come back (the only Boston run came when Xander Bogaerts drove Brock Holt in with a triple). This pitching staff has a number of young arms who have tremendous potential, such as Joe Kelly, some of whom have been promoted too quickly due to necessity. Clay, whom I really like personally, is not one of them. He needs to go to the bullpen, and we need to hope that someone else will step up and show us some brilliance on the mound. Tampa Bay beat Boston, 5-1, at Fenway Park. Record: 12-14. Game 26/136.
#RedSox Game Summary (May 5) Party like it’s 1975. The Red Sox wore those ugly-ass 1975 throwback uniforms, the ones with the Boston Bicentennial logo on them, reminding me of that year, when my friends and I took in 35 games from the bleachers, cheering on El Tiante and Bill Lee and Doooweee and Yaz, and Jim Ed, and Freddy Lynn, as they won the pennant and went on to battle the Big Red Machine in the World Series (no, I didn’t go to any of those). This time, the hero of the day was the amazing Mookie Betts, who hammered 2 solo home runs. He scored twice as many runs as the Sox would need against the Rays, thanks to, wait for it… the outstanding start of Rick Porcello. Rick had another great game, going 7 innings, giving up 0 (that’s zero) runs on 8 hits, 6 punch-outs, and no (that’s zero again) walks. A good start often inspires greatness from others, as Alexi Ogando and Koji Uehara finished up on his behalf. The Rays’ highlight: Evan Longoria got his 1,000th career hit. Boston beat Tampa Bay, 2-0, at Fenway Park. Record: 13-14. Game 27/135.
#RedSox Game Summary (May 6) It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing. Justin Masterson was not exactly inscrutable to Rays hitters, but neither was he supported in grand fashion by his mates. While Tampa Bay eeked out runs in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th innings, Boston was content to settle for an RBI double by Blake Swihart, and a sac fly by Dustin Pedroia in the 2nd, and after Evan Longoria homered in the 4th, Mookie Betts did the same in the 8th. Not to be outdone, Longoria repeated the favor in the 9th. As a result, Tampa Bay beat Boston, 5-3, at Fenway Park. Record: 13-15. Game 28/134.
#RedSox Game Summary (May 8) Double whammy. Mike Napoli is in a deep slump. Hanley Ramirez is still recovering from his shoulder strain, and David Ortiz served his game suspension for contact with an umpire. So, not much happening in the hitting department. At the same time, Wade Miley, is a talented pitcher who has been maddeningly inconsistent so far this season; just one of many. In fact, their struggles have cost pitching coach Juan Nieves his job. So, we entered this game with low expectations, but the Sox managed to limbo well below them. Toronto starter Aaron Sanchez was struggling in the early going, especially in the 4th, when he loaded the bases with no outs on 2 walks and a hit batsman, but Red Sox hitters were unable to take advantage. Gold stars go to Dustin Pedroia and Mookie Betts, the only Sox to get hits (one apiece). Miley was chased from the game after 6 innings, having given up 4 runs on 8 hits, including a Josh Donaldson home run. Just to complete the humiliation, though, Robbie Ross came into the game in the 8, and surrendered 3 more runs on 4 hits, including a Jose Bautista triple. It took the Blue Jays a little longer to collect those runs because some idiot leaned out and grabbed a ball in play. (Once again, DO NOT INTERFERE WITH BALLS IN PLAY!! You not only potentially hurt your team, but you are taking the outcome out of the hands of the players. You are there to observe, not participate.) This clown actually had the nerve to act surprised and offended when security showed up to escort him from the stadium. It didn’t matter in the end, because the Jays had more hits to come. In the end, Toronto beat Boston, 7-0, at the Rogers Centre. Record: 13-16. Game 29/133.
#RedSox Game Summary (May 9) It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. The theory behind ranking the Red Sox fairly highly this year (and it wasn’t just me) that sure, this pitching staff is pretty raw and will give up a lot of runs, but with this lineup, the Sox will always be in the game. Well, this time, they got their hits, 8 in fact, but scored only once, and left 9 on base. Not enough to overcome yet another rough start by the erratic Joe Kelly, who may win a Cy Young award some year, but certainly not this year. He was painful to watch, walking guys in almost every inning (7 in all over 5 2/3rds innings), struggling to find the strike zone with his breaking ball, and oddly unwilling to deliver his pretty solid fastball. He ended up surrendering 6 runs on just 4 hits, including a home run by the Blue Jays’ Edwin Encarnacion. Toronto starter Drew Hutchinson struggled as well, as the Sox got 7 hits off him, but could only score once, because Hutchinson seemed to get key strikeouts (6 in all, including one that almost got an obviously frustrated Pedey ejected) at the right times. Toronto beat Boston, 7-1, at the Rogers Centre. Record: 13-17. Game 30/132.
#RedSox Game Summary (May 10) Tomorrow is another Clay. We never know what to expect from Clay Buchholz. Today, we got a guy that seemed to gain confidence in his fastball as the game wore on, becoming more confident in all has pitches as a result. Clay went 6 1/3rd innings, for 3 earned runs on 7 hits, with 3 punch-outs and 3 walks in the process. Against Toronto knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, the Sox seemed to recover their form at the plate, taking advantage of a knuckler that was not dancing in the controlled environment of the Rogers Centre. Mike Napoli burst out of his slump with a 3 run homer in the 3rd, and the Pablo Sandoval followed with a 2 run shot in the 5th, to pace Red Sox scoring. Panda also doubled, and Mookie Betts tripled. Overall, the Sox got 7 hits in the game, and they were all solid, because anything less was playable in the weirdly slow Rogers Centre artificial surface. Junichi Tarawa and Koji Uehara mopped up. (Kofi got his 6th save). Boston beat Toronto, 6-3, to avoid the sweep, at the Rogers Centre. Record: 14-17. Game 31/131.
#RedSox Game Summary (May 11) Panda-monium. (Ouch) OK, overblown perhaps, but Pablo Sandoval had his moment in this one, with a walk-off homer in the 11th. It was tight for most of the game, with the Red Sox’ old nemesis, Oakland’s Scott Kasmir, getting the better of Boston and Rick Porcello. It was neck-and-neck until the 7th, when the Sox scored on a Mookie Betts single and Dustin Predroia fielder’s choice, to go ahead, 4-3. But the A’s came back to tie it up in the bottom of the inning with a Vogt sac fly. So things remained until the 11th, when Panda finished things with a monster blast that put the Sox up for good. Boston beat Oakland, 5-4 in 11 innings, at the O.co Coliseum (a.k.a., Oakland County Coliseum). Record: 15-17. Game 32/130.
#RedSox Game Summary (May 12) Time for a change. The Red Sox have been waiting, I think, until they could negotiate from a position of strength for Cole Hamels. Well, that time has come and gone, and pitiable begging may be in order. When Justin Masterson came back, he seemed like a decent middle-of-the-order guy, but his performance to date has been disappointing. Tonight’s performance was REALLY disappointing. The A’s lit him up like a pinball machine, getting 6 runs on 6 hits off Masterson’s 2 1/3rd innings work, including homers by Steve Vogt and our old friend, Josh Reddick. Meanwhile, Oakland starter Drew Pomeranz (no Nolan Ryan he) managed to baffle Red Sox hitters fairly well over 7 innings, giving up 2 runs on 4 hits. Shane Victorino managed the only extra base hit, a double (welcome back, Shane!). If things continue on their present track, we may be witnessing bigger moves than the firing of a pitching coach. Just sayin’. Oakland beat Boston, 9-2, at the O.co Coliseum. Record: 15-18. Game 33/129.
#RedSox Game Summary (May 13) All smiles for Miley. This has been a rough year for Wade Miley so far. With a 6.92 ERA, he has not exactly been mystifying hitters. Despite this, today’s game gives reason for hope. He went 6 2/3rds innings, giving up 5 hits, but shutting out the Oakland A’s. The bullpen did their job; mopping up. Oakland starter Sonny Gray was effective, but Hanley Ramirez celebrated his return to the lineup by singling to right and scoring on a bloop single by Daniel Nava. The Sox scored again in the 8th when Dustin Pedroia got an infield hit off reliever Evan Scribner, scoring Nava. So, the Sox finally won a series for the first time in a while. Boston beat Oakland, 2-0, at the O.co. Record: 16-18. Game 34/128.
#RedSox Game summary (May 14) Kelly’s killers (Google it; you’ll be glad you did, though it has nothing to do with tonight’s game.) Joe Kelly showed full command of all his pitches, and was locating well. Though he will not get credit for the win, he can feel good about this game (1 run on 5 hits, 3 walks, and 2 Ks over 6 1/3rd innings). Seattle starter Roenis Elias surrendered a solo home run to Shane Victorino (welcome back, Shane!) to give the Sox a 1-0 lead, which the Mariners tied in the 6th when Logan Morrison drove in Nelson Cruz with a fielder’s choice. So things stood until Mookie Betts drove in Brock Holt with a sac fly in the 9th, and Koji Uehara took the Sox the rest of the way. Boston beat Seattle, 2-1, at Safeco Field. Record: 17-18. Game 35/127.
#RedSox Game Summary (May 15) Confidence. Although they did not win this one, the Red Sox played the game with a newfound confidence not witnessed heretofore. In particular, Clay Buchholz had a great game, going 8 innings, giving up 1 run on 3 hits, and striking out 11 Mariners without surrendering a single walk. The Sox were confident in the field as well, with impressive plays by Dustin Pedroia and Shane Victorino. The one Red Sox run came when Shane Victorino singled in the second, and scored on a Xander Bogaerts triple. Seattle’s Seth Smith tied the score with a solo homer in the 6th, and so it went until the bottom of the 9th, when, with Junichi Tazawa pitching, Nelson Cruz drove in Brad Miller for Seattle’s winning run. Odd as it may seem, although Boston lost this one, I feel more confidence in the team because of the solid performance they put in, and because of the steady work of Clay Buchholz. Seattle beat Boston, 2-1, at Safeco Field. Record: 17-19. Game 36/126.
#RedSox Game Summary (May 16) 3 P’s in a pod (plus…) Papi, Panda, and Porcello set up this win, and then some 6th inning magic put it over the top. Rick Porcello sparkled tonight, giving up a solo HR to Brad Miller in the 1st, and again in the 5th. But, Panda and Papi countered those with solo homers of their own in the 2nd and 3rd. The Sox scored 2 in the 6th when Xander Bogaerts and Daniel Nava walked, and were driven in by a double from Blake Swihart and fielder’s choice by Brock Holt. King Felix was good for Seattle, but not good enough. Rick Porcello has become the magic man for Boston, and with Junichi Tarazawa and Koji Uehara to clean up, the Red Sox can now get at least a split with the vaunted Seattle Mariners. Boston beat Seattle, 4-2 at Safeco Field. Record: 18-19. Game 37/125.
#RedSox Game Summary (May 17) A knuckle sandwich. No, no one got socked in the kisser, but watching Blake Swihart struggling to handle Steven Wright’s knuckleball was almost as painful to watch, at least in the early innings. In the 2nd, he was jumping in front of it constantly, usually knocking it down, though in one instance he let it go by to score a run. The Mariners otherwise scored on a series of singles to take a 2-0, which became 3 in the 5th on a Brad Miller home run (and I’ll bet he wishes he could play the Red Sox every week, based on how he pounded them in this series). Seattle sealed the deal with a 2 run shot by Kyle Seager in the 8th. What did the Red Sox do in response? Mariner starter James Paxton was not exactly water tight, giving up 5 hits and 2 walks, but the Sox could not put anything together in a way that added up to even one run. Brock Holt was the only Sox player to manage an extra base hit (a double in the 7th). So, the Red Sox are starting to get their pitching act together, but runs are coming few and far between; something unexpected given the potential power of this lineup. Let’s hope the friendly confines of Fenway will reawaken their bats. Seattle beat Boston, 5-0, at Safeco Field. Record: 18-20. Game 38/124.
#RedSox Game Summary (May 19) Love that home cookin’. After a mediocre road trip (5-5), the Sox were glad to get back to Fenway Park. Solo homers from David Ortiz and Hanley Ramirez (who also doubled) and additional doubles by Dustin Pedroia and Xander Bogaerts were among the highlights as the Sox scored 4 runs against Texas, showing much more comfort with their bats in the friendly confines (they totaled 13 hits). Wade Miley, for his part, had a fine game, giving up 2 runs on 7 hits and a walk, while getting 7 punch-outs. Miley got in and out of trouble for several innings, but his real problem spot was the 6th, when the Rangers’ Kyle Blanks doubled and scored on a single by Thomas Field, and Thomas Chirinos tripled to drive in Field. All in all, however, Miley had a fine game; something to build on. Unfortunately, Koji Uehara gave up a homer to Leonys Martin, to make the game interesting, but then shut the door. Boston beat Texas, 4-3, at Fenway Park. Record: 19-20. Game 39/123.
#RedSox Game summary (May 20) Strandings. The Red Sox beat up Texas pitching for 8 hits and 2 walks, but they also struck out 10 times and left 12 on base. Joe Kelly had another fine outing, giving up 2 runs on 7 hits (including a solo blast by Robinson Chrinos) with 1 walk and 7 strikeouts over 7 innings, but took the loss. Bogaerts accounted for the only Boston run with a massive solo blast completely over the green monster in the 5th off Ranger starter Phil Klein (who got the win). Dustin Pedroia continued his hitting woes, going 0 for 5 with a strikeout, often flailing wildly at breaking balls down and away. Now that the Red Sox seem to have the pitching issue under control, they need to find a way to score more runs! Texas beat Boston, 2-1, at Fenway Park. Record: 19-21. Game 40/122.
#RedSox Game summary (May 21) Prodigal sons. Like the son in the famous parable, these guys are having a hard time getting home. Rangers’ starter Wandy Rodriguez kept the Sox off balance for 6 2/3rds innings en route to his second victory of the season. Clay Buchholz did his best to keep his team in the game, though he did give up 3 runs on 5 hits and 2 walks, including a 4th inning solo jack by Mitch Moreland. The only Boston run came when Mookie Betts singled, moved to 3rd on a double by Dustin Pedroia, and scored on a fielder’s choice off Big Papi. The Sox just do not look comfortable at the plate, and their hesitant hacks reflect that. Boston has now dropped 2 out of 3 to the lowly Texas Rangers. Texas beat Boston, 3-1, at Fenway Park. Record: 19-22. Game 41/121.
#RedSox Game summary (May 22) The neverending inning. This game was nip-and-tuck until the 5th inning, when suddenly, all Hell broke loose, and it seemed like it would never end. A 3-2 Boston lead turned into a 11-3 deficit as the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim humiliated Red Sox starter Rick Porcello, and continued the brutalization with Matt Barnes. The inning lasted 39 minutes, and seemed much longer. Homers by Chris Iannetta and Erick Aybar. That was only the tip of the iceberg, in what was a horrible inning. Porcello is a sinker ball, ground ball guy, but his ball was staying up in the zone and finding its way into the outfield for hits. Red Sox highlights included a home run by Mike Napoli, and a solid double by Brock Holt, who has been struggling at the plate lately. Los Angeles (at Anaheim) beat Boston, 12-5, at Fenway Park. Record: 19-23. Game: 42/120.
#RedSox Game Summary (May 23) Chitty-chitty bang bang. After a number of misfires, the Red Sox found a way to get hits and score runs in grand style. The Angels’ starter CJ Wilson gave up 4 runs over 6 innings, but that was enough to ensure a Boston win. Mike Napoli showed that his slumps is definitely a thing of the past by hammering two authoritative home runs. After a rough first inning, Red Sox knuckelballer Steven Wright made it through 6 and 1/3rd innings giving up 2 runs on 4 hits and 1 walk with 2 strikeouts. The Sox scored 4 more runs off the Angels’ bullpen, showing that when the lineup produces as it is capable, victory is almost inevitable. Boston beat Los Angeles (at Anaheim), 8-3. Record: 20-23. Game 43/119.
#RedSox Game Summary (May 24) Now this is what I signed up for. In April, the hitting was great, but the pitching sucked. In May, the pitching got sorted, but there was no hitting. Now we see the team as it was designed to work. Mike Napoli had a great game, with a homer and a double, while Brock Holt also hit a double, and Xander Bogaerts not only doubled, but went 4-for-4. All in all, the Red Sox collected 12 hits, including 7 off Angels’s starter Hector Santiago. Sox starter Wade Miley had another fine game, going 8 innings while surrendering just 1 run on 4 hits and 1 walk with 2 Ks. Koji Uehara finished off this non-save situation cleanly. Boston beat Los Angeles (of Anaheim), 6-1, at Fenway Park. Record: 21-23. Game 44/118.
#RedSox Game Summary (May 25) Killing Twins. This season, Joe Kelly has been maddeningly consistent in his inconsistency. After a couple of decent starts, Joe reverted to the control pitcher who can’t keep his pitches down in the zone, and the Twins hitters feasted. He managed to get through the first inning giving up just one run, but in the 2nd, the horror started. After giving up 4 consecutive hits, including an Eduardo Nunez double, resulting in 2 runs, Joe got 2 out (giving up another run in the process), and we thought that might be it. No such luck. After walking Joe Mauer, he surrendered a 3 run bomb to Trevor Plouffe. Kurt Suzuki singled subsequently, and that was the end of a very short, and very painful day for Joe Kelly. The Red Sox came back to score 2 runs in the top of the 3rd with a combination of 3 singles and a fielder’s choice off Minnesota starter Ricky Nolasco, but that was it for the scoring, and for the day, for the Red Sox. Minnesota beat Boston, 7-2, at Target Field. Record: 21-24. Game 45/117.
#RedSox Game Summary (May 26) You can’t always get what you want. In this case, it was just one more run. Over 7 innings. Really? Clay Buchholz had another quality start, giving up just 2 runs over 7 1/3rd innings, yet he got the loss. There is no justice. Clay’s problem inning was the first, when he gave up 2 runs over a succession of 3 doubles by the Twins’ Brian Dozier, Trevor Plouffe, and Kurt Suzuki, with a walk to Torii Hunter wedged in between. The Sox got one back when David Ortiz doubled, and scored on a Mike Napoli single. After that, the Sox piled up a number of singles, got lots of men on base, but could not bring them home. Some spectacuiar fielding plays, including an airborne catch by Rusney Castillo kept Boston in the game, but they also needed runs, and those were not to be found. Minnesota beat Boston, 2-1, at Target Field. Record: 21-25. Game 46/116.
#RedSox Game Summary (May 27) Minnesota not-so-nice. Red Sox starter Rick Porcello’s rare stumble enabled the Twins to complete a sweep of the Olde Towne Team. Dustin Pedroia did his part to rescue this game with a a pair of 2 run dingers, one in the 3rd and one in the 5th, but to no avail. Four singles and a walk provided Minnesota with 3 runs in the 3rd, and a 2 run dinger by Aaron Hicks gave them 5. Eddie Rosario’s solo blast put the game out of reach. Our old Yankee nemesis Phil Hughes was hardly his formerly frustrating self, but was good enough to collect the win for the Twins. Minnesota beat Boston, 6-4, at Target Field. Record: 21-26. Game 47/115.
#RedSox Game Summary (May 28) Shake it up, baby! Ben Cherington shook up the roster, and John Farrell shook up the lineup and rotation, and guess what… we won! Ben promoted Eduardo Martinez from Pawtucket to pitch today, and John put David Ortiz on the bench for a few days, to “work on his swing”. Eduardo was fantastic, giving up zero (yup, zero) runs on 3 hits with 2 walks and 7 strikeouts over 7 2/3rds innings. Meanwhile, Hanley Ramirez broke out of the hitting drought he had suffered since crashing into the wall back on May 5th. He hit a solo home run to pace a 5 run attack that included key hits by Blake Swihart, Pablo Sandoval, and Rusney Castillo. Kind of makes you want to believe again, doesn’t it? Boston beat Texas, 5-1, at the Ballpark at Arlington, aka “Globe Life Park” (really?). Record: 22-26. Game 48/116.
#RedSox Game Summary (May 29) No Tim Wakefield. In his prime, Wakefield’s knuckler would dance maddeningly before hitters, as they flailed wildly. Steven Wright may get there eventually, but in this game, he was no mystery to Rangers hitters. In 5 2/3rds innings, he gave up 3 runs on 5 hits, including 2 home runs by Josh Hamilton and a double by Adam Rosales. He also walked one and struck out two. Alexi Ogando and Craig Breslow poured fuel on the fire, surrendering another 2 runs apiece. The outcome could have been even worse for the Sox, were it not for some sharp fielding by Pablo Sandoval, Xander Bogaerts, and Dustin Pedroia. The one offensive highlight for Boston: Hanley Ramirez hit his 12th home runs, showing that he is back in stride. Texas beat Boston, 7-4, at “Globe Life Park” (rrrr). Record: 22-27. Game 49/113.
#RedSox Game Summary (May 30) You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you won’t even get what you need. (apologies to the Rolling Stones) Wade Miley is a project; we all know that, and sometimes there will be good days and bad days. This was a very bad day. After giving up a run in the first, he seemed to settle down until the 4th, when it started raining runs for the Texas Rangers. On a series of singles and a double by Robinson Chirinos, the Rangers scored 4 runs, adding another on Miley’s tab in the 5th. Miley ended up going 4 innings, giving up 9 hits for 6 runs (5 earned) with 2 walks and 2 Ks. Meanwhile, Chi Chi Gonzalez celebrated his major league debut by pitching 5 2/3rds scoreless innings, giving up just 2 hits. He walked 5, and punched out 2. Texas beat Boston, 8-0, at Globe Life Park. Record: 22-28. Game 50/112.
#RedSox Game Summary (May 31) Chances lost and blown. Pitch to the hottest hitter in baseball, or walk him to pitch to a man with the hottest hitting streak? The Sox picked their poison, walking Prince Fielder in the 9th with 2 out and 1 on 3rd, and a 1 run lead, and pitching to pinch hitter Josh Hamilton, and it killed them. Make no mistake, this game did not hang on this play altogether, this was just the last lost chance. The Sox made 3 errors in the field (1 by Dustin Pedroia and 2 by Pablo Sandoval) and had many juicy potential scoring situations that went by the boards, leaving 10 on base. This was another good start for Joe Kelly, who pitched 5 innings, and held the Texas Rangers to 2 runs on 6 hits, allowing 2 walks, and striking out 3. He was rewarded with a no decision. Three relievers held the line, clinging to a slender 3-2 lead by the bottom of the 9th. It might have been much less dramatic, had not one of Panda’s goofs not come with the Rangers’ 9th inning leadoff hitter, who reached when Panda could not handle a routine ground ball. After that, it was a matter of working the runner into scoring position to set up the dramatic walk-off disaster that handed Boston yet another series defeat, Koji his second loss and second blown save, and a dejecting moment for fans to add to already building frustration. This is a good team. Really. They have a top lineup, and the pitchers have really come around. Yet they play without confidence, without swagger. And, obviously, they are losing. Texas beat Boston, 4-3, at (ugh) Globe Life Park. Record: 22-29. Game 51/111.
#RedSox Game Summary (June 1) Pardon the interruption. Today’s game between Boston and Minnesota at Fenway Park has been rained out, thereby producing a break in the ongoing trail of tears that is the 2015 season to date.
#RedSox Game Summary (June 2) Feat of Clay. (How long have I waited to use that one.) Clay Buchholz showed us what he can do when he is really on his game. Maybe he has finally figured out how to blow hitters away without hurting himself. We can only hope. In this game, he went 8 scoreless innings, giving up just 3 hits and 2 walks while punching out 8. Koji Uehara finished out the 9th. The lone Boston run came when Xander Bogaerts doubled in the 7th off of the Twins’ Mike Pelfrey, and scored on a Rusney Castillo single. The Sox have the pitching, now if they can just get more hitting and runs, they just might have a real team! Boston beat Minnesota, 1-0, at Fenway Park. Record: 23-29. Game 52/110.
#RedSox Game Summary (June 3, Game 1) Steady Eddie. Eduardo Rodriguez had a spectacular major league debut last week against the Rangers, and followed that with another great start today. He went 7 innings, giving up 1 run (a 3rd inning solo dinger by Brian Dozier) on 2 hits, striking out 7 and walking 2. Wonder of wonders, the Red Sox lineup also supported his effort with timely hits and runs. They got 13 hits altogether. Dustin Pedroia went 4-for-5 and Xander Bogaerts went 3-for-4. Big Papi doubled off Twins starter Phil Hughes, and Mike Napoli provided the final nail for the coffin with a 7th inning solo blast off Michael Tonkin. There is a difference between being a talented team and performing well. These Red Sox are a talented team. They have not been performing well. This is what they look like when they play up to their ability. Is it too late to consider a postseason run? I don’t think so, because this division sucks. Boston beat Minnesota, 6-3, at Fenway Park. Record: 24-29. Game: 53/109.
#RedSox Game Summary (June 3, Game 2) Fun while it lasted. I guess we can’t expect the kind of run production the Sox produced in game 1 on a regular basis, or they might actually achieve a winning record. Instead, they seemed baffled by journeyman Twins starter Trevor May, who pitched 7 shutout innings, giving up just 2 hits while notching 9 strikeouts. Boston starter Rick Porcello had a perfectly fine start, giving up 2 runs on 5 hits with 5 punchouts, but you can’t win if you don’t score. Patience is wearing thin in Red Sox Nation. Minnesota beat Boston, 2-0, at Fenway Park. Record: 24-30. Game 54/108.
#RedSox Game Summary (June 4) Everything was going so well. Steven Wright pitched 4 shutout innings against the Twins, and meanwhile, the Sox scored 4 runs, two on homers by Blake Swihart (his first) and Dustin Pedroia. Then, the wheels came off the wagon. In the 5th inning, Torii Hunter hit a 3 run bomb, cutting the Red Sox lead to 1. Then in the 6th, Pablo Sandoval allowed what should have been the third out (Eduardo Escobar) to reach 2nd on a 2 base throwing error. After that, Kurt Suzuki singled, driving Escobar in with the tying run. The damage done, Junichi Tazawa replaced Wright in the 7th, and the bullpen held until the 9th. Koji time. Only, not a good time for Sox fans this time. 3 singles and an error resulted in a 2 run Minnesota lead. Out goes Koji Uehara, in comes Craig Breslow. Better? Not really. Eduardo Escobar drove in another run with a double, and an 8th Twins run came on a Shane Robinson sac fly. And so, the game evolved from a comfortable Boston win to a nail-biter, to a Twins laugher, and all fairly quickly. It seems likely that at least one head will roll soon, if this continues. Minnesota beat Boston, 8-4, at Fenway Park. Record: 24-31. Game 55/107.
#RedSox Game Summary (June 6) Both sides now. A’s reliever Pat Venditte made his major league debut as the first “switch pitcher” of the modern era. He has a special glove with 2 thumbs so he can pitch righty or lefty by simply switching his glove (and notifying the umpire). Fortunately, it didn’t matter for the Sox, who had a 2 run lead by the time he came on in the 7th, and held onto it. Facing an aging Scott Kazmir, who once terrified us when he started for the Rays, Boston accumulated 4 runs on 9 hits (including doubles by Brock Holt, Xander Bogaerts, and Dustin Pedroia), and a walk. Scott also struck out 4. Wade Miley (Mr. Inconsistent) was very good today, giving up 2 runs on 6 hits and a walk while striking out 6. He did surrender a home run to Brett Lawrie. Dan Shaughnessy says this is a bad team. I think it is a very talented team that is trying to find itself. Let’s hope they do so before it is too late. Boston beat Oakland, 4-2, at Fenway Park. Record: 25-31. Game: 56/106.
#RedSox Game Summary (June 6) Restraint of trade. The chuckleheads on D&C (WEEI) think the Sox should trade Mike Napoli while, in their view, they can still get something for him. What nonsense. Mike has been on a tear of late, and helped motivate a win today, going 2-for-3 with a double and RBI. Hanley Ramirez continues on his hitting tear, going 3-for-5, including a 2 run bomb in the 1st off Oakland starter Jesse Chavez, scoring 2 and driving in 2. He has also been showing confidence and skill in left, deftly playing the Monster in a way that had eluded him early in the season. Big Papi and Blake Swihart also doubled. Joe Kelly, who seems to improve with every game, had a rough 4th inning, when he seemed to lose control after giving up a double to Josh Reddick, but managed to get out of it without surrendering a run. The only run off Kelly came when Billy Burns tripled in the 3rd to drive in Eric Sogard. The other Oakland run came when Mark Canha knocked a solo dinger off Alexi Ogando in the 7th. Kofi Uehara finished things off without incident. Boston beat Oakland, 4-2, at Fenway Park. Record: 26-31. Game 57/105.
#RedSox Game Summary (June 7) The great awakening. The Red Sox, who have a terrible comeback record this year, seemed to have awoken from their slumber in the 8th inning and said, “we can take these guys.” Until that point, the A’s seemed to have their number, with Oakland starter Kendall Graveman pitching 7 shutout innings giving up just 5 hits, and leading 4-0 until the 8th, when Rusney Castillo ended his day with a solo home run. On came Evan Scribner, and then the real fun started. The Sox batted around against a succession of relievers, accumulating a total of 7 runs on 7 hits (including a Xander Bogaerts double) and a sac fly by David Ortiz.Those 4 Oakland runs came off Boston starter Clay Buchholz, who was struggling with his control, and could not survive the 5th inning. Fortunately, Steven Wright came on and his knuckleball danced for 3 1/3rd innings, to cool the Oakland bats. I had to rummage around in my closet for a while to find my broom, since it has been quite a while since the Red Sox had a sweep, but they did today in a most unusual way. Boston beat Oakland, 7-4, at Fenway Park. Record: 27-31. Game 58/104.
#RedSox Game Summary (June 9) Not just yet. If we thought we saw the turning point for the season in the last game, well, we still need to wait. Eduardo Rodriguez turned in another strong performance, though not quite as strong as his last two games, and provided 6 shutout innings against the Baltimore Orioles. Ryan Flaherty came on in relief in the seventh, and after allowing a double to Steve Pearce and a single, a wild pitch provided the Orioles with the only run they would need. The Sox had few opportunities, but one was especially frustrating. Blake Swihart doubled in the 5th, reached 3rd on a Dustin Pedroia ground out, and languished there as Brock Holt struck out, and Rusney Castillo flied out. Orioles closer Zach Britton was called upon for 5 outs, but rose to the challenge. Baltimore beat Boston, 1-0, at Orioles Park at Camden Yards. Record: 27-32. Game 59/103.
#RedSox Game Summary (June 10) Worse and worser. In April, the Sox were scoring runs in bunches, but the pitching sucked, so they were losing. In May, the pitching came together, but the Sox weren’t hitting, so they were still losing. Now, we have both. Rick Porcello had his third rough outing in a row, giving up 5 runs to the Orioles on 10 hits (JJ Hardy and Manny Machado both doubled) with 5 Ks over 5 1/3rd innings. Meanwhile, the once vaunted Red Sox lineup could only manage 2 runs on 7 hits and 1 walk, and there were 10 total strikeouts. Dustin Pedroia and Brock Holt both showed up for work, each going 2-for-4 with a double. Xander Bogaerts and Pablo Sandoval also got a hit each. That was not enough to stop the current Red Sox skid. Baltimore beat Boston, 5-2, at Orioles Park at Camden Yards. Record: 27-33. Game 60/102.
#RedSox Game Summary (June 11) Call me irresponsible, call me unreliable, throw in undependable too. When he is on, he is a wonder to behold. Other times, well. Wade Miley had one of those other games against the Orioles, going just 4 innings and giving up 5 runs on 9 hits, including homers by Adam Jones, Nolan Reimold, and Manny Machado. The Sox did rally in the 4th, scoring 3 runs off Baltimore starter Chris Tillman, capped with a double by Pablo Sandoval. They scored again in the 6th, and in the 8th, David Ortiz hit a solo blast for Boston’s 5th run. It was not enough to rebuff the surging O’s, however. Baltimore beat Boston, 6-5, at Orioles Park at Camden Yards, to sweep the series. The malaise continues. Record: 27-34. Game 61/101.
#RedSox Apparently, Wade Miley screamed at John Farrell for pulling him after giving up 5 runs in 4 innings, including 2 home runs. Are you kidding me? Listen junior, when you are bleeding out runs like that, you are done. These are the big leagues, son.
#RedSox Game Summary (June 12) Nightmare on Landsdowne Street. You would think that 8-1 would be a pretty safe lead. You would think scoring 10 runs would win a ballgame. Well, not with these Red Sox. They got off to a solid start, with 6 hits in the first inning off Blue Jays’ starter Drew Hutchinson, including a double by Xander Bogaerts and back-to-back homers by Pablo Sandoval and Mookie Betts, for 5 runs. Then came another eruption in the 3rd, as Dustin Pedroia hit a 3 run blast. Bogaerts drove in another run in the 8th, and a Rusney Castillo double drove in another in the 9th. Boston starter Joe Kelly seemed in control until the 5th, when the horror started. After a pair of singles and a Ryan Goins double for 2 runs, a fielder’s choice and single made it 4. Joe had a 1-2-3 6th and things still looked OK. In the 7th, Matt Barnes took over. 7 hits and an error later, including a double by Ryan Goins, and a triple by Russell Martin, Toronto took over the lead, and Barnes handed over the ball to Junichi Tazawa. Justin Smoak smoked a 2 run homer to left center, when it was finally done, the Blue Jays had a 9 run inning. The Red Sox scored 10 runs on 12 hits with 7 walks. And they lost. A reminder: John Farrell was supposed to be a great pitchers’ manager. Toronto beat Boston, 13-10, at Fenway Park. Record: 27-35. Game 62/100.
#RedSox Game Summary (June 13) No bonus points. Don Orsillo likes to call extra innings “bonus baseball”, but this time the bonus went to Toronto. Things started out sort of OK; Clay Buchholz had his usual shaky start, giving up 3 runs in the 2nd inning and another in the 4th, but Boston came roaring back, scoring 3 runs in the 4th off Blue Jays starter RA Dickey, and another, on a solo bomb by David Oriz, in the 6th, to tie it up. So things remained, despite loading the bases in the 7th, until the 11th, when Russell Martin settled things for the Jays with a solo dinger off Matt Barnes. When you’re not earning your wins, you’re also not catching the breaks. Toronto beat Boston, 5-4 (11 innings), at Fenway Park. Record: 27-36. Game 63/99.
#RedSox Game Summary (June 14) Another losing hand,. It seems to many that every one hand has been a loser so far, and maybe it’s time to shuffle the deck. Something needs to be done. This time, it was talented rookie pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez’s turn to fail.His start was routine until the 4th inning, when disaster came. He surrendered 6 runs to the Blue Jays, capped by a 3 run dinger by Ryan Goins. Hoping, I suppose, that he would pitch himself out of this funk, John Farrell kept Rodriguez in for the 5th, but things just continued to deteriorate. After 2 quick outs, he walked Edwin Encarnacion, followed by a single and a RBI double to Russell Martin (last night’s 11th inning hero for Toronto), and he was done. But Steven Wright gave up a quick 2 run homer to Danny Valencia, and the score became 10-0. To their credit, the Olde Towne Team staged something of a comeback in the bottom of the inning, scoring 5 runs on a walk, 3 singles, and a blast by Big Papi into the Toronto bullpen. That was where it stopped, though, and Toronto picked up 3 more in the 7th when Tommy Layne, who has been struggling lately, gave up back-to-back doubles to Goins and Jose Reyes with 2 men on. Yesterday, we were teased with the possibility of a win late, this time there was no such illusion. Toronto beat Boston, 13-5, at Fenway Park, to sweep the series an hand the Red Sox their 6th straight loss. Record: 27-37. Game 64/98.
#RedSox Game Summary (June 15) All for one, one for all, and every man for himself (apologies to the Three Stooges). The Braves scored 3 out of 6 runners in scoring position (RISP) in this game. The Red Sox? 1 out of 7. The Braves had 9 hits, and scored 4 runs. The Red Sox had 10 hits, and scored 2 runs. This has become a recurring theme. Rick Porcello, the Boston starter, is not an ace, but a good middle-of-the-order guy,. He needs run support to win. He didn’t get it. Again. Despite a home run by Xander Bogaerts and a double by Pablo Sandoval, and a bunch of other hits and walks, the Sox were, once again, impotent against their opponent. The Braves had no extra base hits, but put what they had together to score runs. The Red Sox players each performed adequately as individuals, but did not put their talents together, and that’s what wins ball games. Atlanta beat Boston, 4-2, at Fenway Park in interleague play. Record: 27-38. Game 65/97.
#RedSox Game Summary (June 16) A virtuous cycle. Brock Holt hit for the cycle; the first Red Sox player to do so since John Valentin did it in 1996, 19 years ago. This accomplishment capped off a day of free swinging and frequent scoring for the Olde Towne Team. It also helped that the “good” Wade Miley showed up today to start for Boston; he ended up pitching 6 1/3rd innings, and giving up 2 runs on 5 hits while walking 2 and striking out 8 Braves. In addition to Holt’s single, double, triple and home run, Mookie Betts, Mike Napoli, Alejandro De Aza, and Pablo Sandoval also doubled, and both Betts and De Aza tripled as well. The Sox jumped on Atlanta starter Julio Teheran in the first inning, scoring 2 runs on back-to-back doubles by Holt and Betts; who ultimately scored. The Braves tied it in the 4th, powered by a Freddie Freeman double. The Sox exploded from the 6th inning on, and in the end managed 18 hits and one walk, while leaving only 5 on base. Maybe Holt’s cycle will inspire a virtuous cycle, where winning begets winning, and the Sox regain their swagger. We can only hope so. Boston beat Atlanta in interleague play, 9-4, at Fenway Park. Record: 28-38. Game 66/96.
#RedSox Game Summary (June 17) Pick your poison. In this case, it was hitting; there was not enough of it. For pitching Joe Kelly had a good game, but was rewarded with a no decision for his efforts. He gave up 2 runs on 5 hits and 3 walks, with 3 strikeouts over 5 innings. His counterpart, Braves starter Alex Wood, also surrendered 2 runs, including a solo dinger by Mike Napoli, and the game remained tied until Junichi Tazawa allowed a run and left the bases loaded for Tommy Layne to walk in yet another (also charged to Tazawa). Why is it that the Sox seem unable to apply just a little good hitting to a fine pitching performance? A Boston highlight came when manager John Farrell got pitched for using some bad words in complaining about a questionable swinging third strike call in the 7th inning. Maybe that will light a fire under these guys. We can only hope. Atlanta beat Boston in interleague play, 5-2, at Turner Field. Record: 28-39. Game 67/95.
#RedSox Game Summary (June 18) Splitsviille. Sometimes, a split seems like a great victory. After the recent set of series, splitting one with the surging Atlanta Braves seems like a big win. Clay Buchholz had a fine game, going 7 innings, giving up 2 runs on 7 hits and one walk, with 3 strikeouts. Panda sat out the game for “liking” some babe on Instagram during the prior game, earning a day on the bench. Travis Shaw was called up from Pawtucket to replace him, and though he did little at the plate, he turned in a couple of nifty plays at 3rd. As for the rest of the team, Brock Holt and Alejandro De Aza went 2-for-4 with a triple for Holt and a double for De Aza. Mookie Betts went 2-for-5 with a double, and scored a run. In the end, the Red Sox scored 5 runs (4 off Atlanta starter Shelby Miller, and one off our old friend David Aardsma). A solid win, that earned a split with the Atlanta Braves. Boston beat Atlanta in interleague play, 5-2, at Turner Field. Record: 29-39. Game 68/94.
#RedSox Game Summary (June 19) Well, it’s about time. The Red Sox showed what they are capable of doing, against a tough Kansas City squad (they are in first place in the AL Central), both at the plate and on the mound. Eduardo Rodriguez, who started against the Royals, had a rough outing versus the Toronto Blue Jays last week, but put that all behind him as he pitched 6 1/3rd innings, giving up 1 run on 6 hits (including doubles by Omar Infante and Alcides Escobar) with a walk and 5 strikeouts. The Sox supported him with 16 hits, including a homer by Hanley Ramirez in the 5th, and doubles by the recently chastened Pablo Sandoval and Mike Napoli, for 7 runs. The Royals’ Eric Hosmer got a home run late, but it was to no avail for Kansas City. Boston beat Kansas City, 7-3, at Kauffman Stadium. Record: 30-39. Game 69/93.
#RedSox Game Summary (June 20) Here we go again. Rick Porcello is on a major skid, and as the Sox try to turn this season around, that’s really not helpful. In particular, he’s become Mr. Home Run after all the dingers he’s given up (11 so far this year), and it’s hard for the team to build momentum when they hit this speed bump every 5th start. The game started out great. The Sox built up a 4-1 lead over 5 innings off Royals’ starter Edison Volquez, starting with a solo blast by Mookie Betts in the very first Red Sox at-bat. In the 2nd, Blake Swihart doubled and scored on a Brock Holt double. In the 5th, a series of singles led to another 2 runs. The only Kansas City run to that point came on a Salvador Perez homer. In the 5th, however, starting when Alex Rios was hit by a pitch. a series of singles suggested that Tommy Layne, who was warmed up, might pour cold water on this fire, but instead, Porcello remained in the game to surrender a 2 run bomb to Kenrys Morales, and that was, pretty much, the ballgame. C’mon guys, let’s get it together! Kansas City beat Boston, 7-4, at Kauffman Stadium. Record: 30-40. Game 70/92.
#RedSox Game Summary (June 21) Getting what they paid for. This is what the team was designed to look like. It is a sign of how delicate Red Sox rallies have been that despite the lopsided score in the 7th inning, Jerry Remy hesitated to use the term “laugher” to describe it. Everyone except Rusney Castillo (who came in at the end for Hanley Ramirez), Mike Napoli, and Alejandro De Aza got a hit. Mookie Betts (who went 3-for-5) was a single short of the cycle. Ramirez and David Ortiz also had home runs. Brock Holt, Betts (obviously), Dustin Pedroia (finally breaking out of his slump), and Xander Bogaerts doubled. We were treated to the “good” Wade Miley, who pitched 6 shutout innings against the Royals, giving up 5 hits and 3 walks, with 2 Ks. The only slightly disconcerting moment came at the end, when Koji Uehara came on in a non-save situation, and gave up 2 runs on 2 singles and a bases-clearing triple by Lorenzo Cain. Maybe they can still win it, or maybe they can merely try, but at least these Sox are at least fun to watch again. Boston beat Kansas City, 13-2, at Kauffman Stadium. Record: 31-40. Game 71/91.
#RedSox Game Summary (June 23) Tornado warning. As Boston got some unusual alerts from the National Weather Service, another kind of storm was brewing at Fenway Park. Joe Kelly, who is sometimes masterful, was eminently hittable today, and the Orioles took full advantage. They notched 8 hits (including a double and triple by Chris Parmalee, and a homer by David Lough) for 4 runs plus one when Lough scored on a single by Jimmy Paredes off Robbie Ross. Meanwhile, the Baltimore bullpen managed to hold off the Red Sox well enough to gain the win. John Farrell took one for the team, getting ejected in the 7th for arguing balls and strikes. Hanley Ramirez celebrated his return to the lineup, going 2-for-4 with a RBI, and Panda went 3-for-4. Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia doubled in the losing effort. Baltimore beat Boston, 6-4, at Fenway Park. Record: 31-41. Game 72/90.
#RedSox Game Summary (June 24) Solid Clay. He’s been working hard to develop a sustainable pitching motion, and Clay Buchholz may just have found it. He has won 4 of his last 5 starts, including this game, in which he was masterful, giving up 1 run on 8 hits and a walk, with 7 strikeouts over 7 innings. Orioles starter Bud Norris looked pretty tough, posting goose eggs until the 6th inning, when all heck broke loose. Aided by back-to-back Baltimore errors, the Sox added 3 hits, including a 2 run jack by Big Papi, to post a 5-spot on the board. All in all, the Red Sox had 7 hits; with Xander Bogaerts and Hanley Ramirez getting 2 apiece. Ramirez had to leave the game after being hit by a hard line drive off the bat of Bogaerts; no word yet on whether he will be back in the lineup tomorrow. Boston beat Baltimore, 5-1, at Fenway Park. Record: 32-41. Game 73/89.
#RedSox Game Summary (June 25) Eddie: not so steady. About a month ago, I referred to Eduardo Rodriguez as “steady Eddie”. In the past few outings, however, he’s been anything but. Once again, the 4th inning proved his nemesis. With one out, the Orioles’ Chris Parmalee crushed a laser shot into center field for a double, and it seemed to shake up Rodriguez, who lost control of his breaking ball after that point. After Norman Reimold singled to drive in Parmalee, Matt Wieters hit a 2 run shot, and two singles later, JJ Hardy doubled to drive in a couple more. Steve Pearce drove in Hardy, and that was that. Rodriguez went 3 2/3rds innings, giving up 6 runs on 7 hits and no walks. He also struck out 5, suggesting that once this kid gets his stuff, and his emotions, under control, he could really be something. The Sox struggled to come back, scoring 6 runs on 12 hits including doubles by Xander Bogaerts and the struggling Mike Napoli, but it was not enough to undo the damage as the O’s tacked on 2 more in the later innings. Baltimore beat Boston, 8-6, at Fenway Park. Record: 32-42. Game 74/88.
#RedSox Game Summary (June 26) Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes you choose between the two. (apologies to Joni Mitchell) The Red Sox chose to win in this extra innings affair, as a hard fought battle ended up a battle of wills. Rick Porcello was effective, but could not hold the Rays back from tying up a close game in the 6th inning, and exited after giving up 3 runs on 9 hits and one walk with 5 Ks against the Tampa Bay Rays. Alejandro De Aza drove in the first run with a double, and scored on a sac fly by Jackie Bradley, Jr. in the first. In the 4th, Mike Napoli scored on a double steal with Blake Swihart. The Rays caught up with a RBI double by Mike Krauss, and in the 6th, a double by Evan Longoria, sac fly by David DeJesus, and a wild pitch by Porcello tied the score. That’s how things stood until the 10th, when Mookie Betts (who had badly messed up a running play in the 7th) doubled, and scored on a single by Brock Holt. Kojo Uehara closed the door. Boston beat Tampa Bay, 4-3 (10 innings), at Tropicana Field. Record: 33-42. Game 75/87.
#RedSox Game Summary (June 27) Before you were born. This game involved throwback uniforms that dated from before the Rays existed, so they wore uniforms with designs borrowed from the prior Tampa Bay minor league club (they have been called “fauxback” uniforms). Whatever. It worked, I guess, as the Red Sox could do nothing versus Rays starter Matt Andreiese, who gave up no runs on just one hit and 5 strikeouts over 6 innings. The bullpen did almost as well, with the only Boston run coming off Kevin Jepsen, a solo dinger by Alejandro De Aza. Meanwhile, Wade Miley had a decent start, but gave up 2 runs on a homer by Jake Elmore. The Rays tacked on a couple more runs on Matt Barnes in the 7th and 8th while the Tampa Bay bullpen left the Red Sox stymied. Tampa Bay beat Boston, 4-1, at Tropicana Field. Record: 33-43. Game 76/86.
#RedSox Game Summary (June 28) You can come in now, Jackie. Jackie Bradley, Jr. snagged a fly ball in the right field corner and fired it into the plate. It would have been a brilliant play but for one thing: that was the third out. These Red Sox seemed that way in this game, winning without realizing it. Pablo Sandoval (who went 2-for-3), Alejandro De Aza, and David Ortiz all homered as Tampa Bay starter Chris Archer struck out 10 Red Sox, but had a bad day nonetheless, giving up 5 runs on 5 hits and a walk over 6 innings. This marked the triumphant return for Justin Masterson, who gave up just 1 run on 5 hits over 5 innings, with 6 Ks and no walks. Xander Bogaerts also went 2-for-4, doubled and scored 2 runs. Boston beat Tampa Bay, 5-3, at Tropicana Field. Record: 34-43. Game 77/85.
#RedSox Game Summary (June 29) Finding themselves in Blue Jay Way. The Red Sox are looking more like themselves, but is it too late? They just love facing Toronto knuckleballer RA Dickey, and gave him another bad day. In the 3rd, a Xander Bogaerts double drove in 2 runs, and in the 5th, Mookie Betts tripled and scored on a blooper by Brock Holt. Meanwhile, Clay Buchholz had another good start, giving up just 1 run on 5 hits over 8 innings, while walking no one. If they can put the pedal to the metal, the Sox might still make .500 by the All Star break (unlikely, but OK), and would be in a position to make moves to salvage the season (Cole Hamels is still there…). I know I may be dreaming desperately, but desperate dreams are all I have right now (as far as baseball is concerned, that is). Boston beat Toronto, 3-1, at the Rogers Centre. Record: 35-43. Game 78/84.
#RedSox Game Summary (June 30) No tipping. As it turns out, Eduardo Rodriguez was tipping his pitches. A bit of rehab with pitching coaches helped him solve that problem, and the result was dramatic. Rodriguez went 6 innings against the Toronto Blue Jays, giving up1 run on 4 hits with 2 walks, and 4 Ks. Blue Jays starter Marco Estrada had a much tougher time. After Mookie Betts reached on an error, the Sox filled the bases, and Estrada walked in 2 runs in a row. Jackie Bradley, Jr. homered in the 2nd, and David Ortiz homered in the 3rd. Although the Blue Jays scored 3 runs, including a 2 run homer by Jose Reyes, it was not enough to overcome the surging Sox. Boston beat Toronto, 4-3, at the Rogers Centre. Record: 36-43. Game: 79/83.
#RedSox Game Summary (July 1) Speed bump. The Red Sox had a theoretical shot at their 4th in a row, until they came to Rick Porcello’s spot in the rotation. Rick’s breaking ball just wasn’t breaking today, except perhaps when it reached the upper deck off a Blue Jay bat. Toronto had a home run fest off Porcello, as Edwin Encarnacion, Justin Smoak, and Jose Bautista all got in on the fun, blowing the game open early. Rick left after 2, giving up 7 runs on 7 hits with 3 Ks. Buoyed by their bloated score, Toronto hitters continued to tee off Boston pitching, as Smoak got a second dinger off Robbie Ross, and Josh Donaldson popped one off Jonathan Aro. Old Red Sox nemesis Mark Buehrle was not completely mysterious, giving up several extra base hits, but no runs. The only one that really hurt was a solo blast by Mookie Betts, who got his off Aaron Loup. The truth is that Rick Porcello seemed like a great get last spring. His numbers were on the rebound and he seemed a good middle-of-the-order guy. Now, he has lost the last 8 out of 9 starts, and his ERA is north of 6. Frustrating. Toronto beat Boston, 11-2, at the Rogers Centre. Record: 36-44. Game 80/82.
#RedSox Game Summary (July 2) Offsetting humiliations. The previous day, the Blue Jays humiliated the Red Sox 11-2. On this day, the Red Sox returned the favor, starting with an 8 run first inning. Toronto starter Matt Boyd had a serious breakdown, giving up 3 successive singles, and back-to-back home runs by David Ortiz and Hanley Ramirez. After a single to Pablo Sandoval, and walking Mike Napoli, Liam Hendriks came in, and surrendered a 2 run triple to Alejandro De Aza. A Mookie Betts single drove in De Aza for the 8th run. But the story was not quite over yet. Red Sox starter Wade Miley had his own issues in the 2nd inning, giving up 3 singles and a walk for one run, then walking in another. A Jose Bautista single drove in 2 more runs, and the Blue Jays were back in the game, 8-4. But in the 7th inning, singles, wild pitches, and a double by De Aza sealed the game for Boston. This was a truly ugly game, with bad play on both sides, but the Red Sox hitting and aggressive base running proved decisive. Boston beat Toronto, 12-6, at the Rogers Centre, winning this series. Things are finally moving in the right direction. Record: 37-44. Game 81/81. The actual half-way point.
#Redsox Game Summary (July 3) What was he thinking? Normally, as most of you know, I don’t criticize a manager’s decision, but in this case I must make an exception. The Red Sox battled with the Astros all night long, giving up runs, getting them back, right up to the 10th inning. Then John Farrell puts in Noe Ramirez, fresh from Pawtucket, in a game-critical situation, when Junichi Tazawa was available. WTF? Ramirez had no major league experience, and he had to hold off one of the toughest lineups in the American League, with the game on the line? Is this some sort of Sun Tzu Art of War thing? I seriously want to hear the answer to this question. Prior to that point, the game was a massive battle. The Sox got out to an early lead with a solo homer and a series of singles off Houston starter Dan Straily leading to a 2-0 lead in the 2nd. The ‘Stros came back in the 4th, banging around Justin Masterson with a series of singles and doubles by Jason Castro and Justin Tucker to take a 5-2 lead. The Sox came right back to tie the score in the bottom of the 5th. The two teams score 2 runs apiece in the 7th, and in the 8th, Houston’s Carlos Correa hit a solo blast off Craig Breslow, while David Ortiz’s RBI double tied the score again at 8-8. Farrell decided to go with Koji Uehara in the 9th, in the hope that the Sox could score in the bottom of the inning. Then in the 10th, although Tazawa was itching to get into the fight, Farrell went with an untested pitcher straight from triple-A. After Ramirez hit the first batter, Mike Napoli muffed a play to allow a runner aboard, and a succession of singles, the ‘Stros enjoyed an 11-8 lead. Then, just for good measure, Domingo Santana stole home on a double steal play. Ouch. Houston beat Boston, 12-8, at Fenway Park. Record: 37-45. Game: 82/80.
#RedSox Game Summary (July 4) Just another day at the office. Clay Buchholz showed up for work today, punched the clock, and turned in a 1 run complete game victory. Apparently, while everyone was fretting over minor fielding miscues and mysterious management decisions, Clay overcame the mechanical problems that made him either inconsistent or a DL candidate, and became – dare I say it – dependable. His final line was 1 run on 6 hits over 9 innings with 8 Ks, while walking no one. Meanwhile, the fireworks on this 4th of July were supplied by Red Sox hitters, mostly in a succession of hits to generate one run innings one after another. A 2 RBI double by Mookie Betts off Houston reliever Roberto Hernandez provided the exclamation point in the 8th inning, while Astros starter Collin McHugh suffered death by a thousand cuts, giving up 4 runs on 7 hits over 5 1/3rd innings to take the loss. The Sox were 11-for-32 today, and Shane Victorino celebrated his return to the lineup with a 2-for-4 day, scoring 2 runs. Boston beat Houston, 6-1, at Fenway Park. Record: 38-45. Game 83/79.
#RedSox Game Summary (July 5) The bigger they are, the harder they fall. The (yes, I will still say it) surprising Houston Astros had the best record in the American League coming into this series. Not any more, thanks to the Boston Red Sox. It was pretty much a pitchers’ duel for the first five innings, with Eduardo Rodriguez looking strong for Boston, and Lance McCullers likewise for Houston, each giving up 1 run (Rodriguez gave up 6 hits and 2 walks, while fanning 8). The Sox had 7 hits and 3 walks over that span, but left a lot of guys standing on base. When the bullpens came into play, both teams turned on the heat. The Sox scored twice in the 6th, aided by a Pablo Sandoval double and 2 Astros errors. The ‘Stros came right back in the 7th, scoring 3 runs on back-to-back homers by Carlos Correa and Evan Gattis off of Alexi Ogando, who had trouble getting his breaking ball to break anything except windshields on Lansdowne Street. In the bottom of the inning, Hanley Ramirez settled the matter with a monster 2 run blast that he hit into the second row of the monster seats WITH ONE HAND. Wow. Boston beat Houston, 5-4, at Fenway Park, to win the series. One side-note: Is it really fair that Rodriguez pitched 5 sold innings and gave up one run, but got a no-decision, while Matt Barnes faced just one batter, striking him out, and got the win? Discuss among yourselves. Record: 39-45. Game 84/78.
#RedSox Game Summary (July 7) Bogey is a beast! After the Sox had left men on base all game long, Xander Bogaerts said: no more. His 3 run single in the 8th handed victory to the Red Sox after a hard-fought contest. Once again, Wade Miley surprised us with his good side, until the 7th, when he faltered. Up to then, he had given up just 1 run on 4 hits (including doubles by Adienni Hechevarria and Cole Gillespie) and 2 walks. Then in the 7th, JT Realmuto and Christian Yelich doubled to highlight a 2 run inning that put the Red Sox back on their heels. The Sox had scored their run on a succession of singles in the 2nd. In the bottom of the 7th, Bogaerts strode up to the plate with the bases loaded and two out, and laced a line drive to center that cleared the bases. Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara (20th save) cleaned up. Get ready, Sox fans, this could be it! Boston beat Miami, 4-3 in interleague play, at Fenway Park. I’m not trying to influence your vote, but… well, of course I am! Vote for Xander for the remaining electable AL All Star spot! Record: 40-45. Game 85/77.
#RedSox Game Summary (July 8) Remember what this felt like? You don’t have to recall too hard, because the Sox are back, baby! Fourth inning, a walk, an error, a single, and… a Big Papi blast! 4-0. Rick Porcello, being Rick Porcello, gave 2 runs back to the Marlins on a succession of singles in the next inning, but escaped with a 4-2 lead. An Ortiz double produced another run in the 6th, and as Alejandro De Aza stole 3rd in the 7th, a throwing error enabled him to score. But those were just for comfort. Miami got another back in the 8th on a Michael Morse solo blast off Matt Barnes, but it was to no avail. Koji Uehara made sure of that. Note to the Yankees pitching staff. Be afraid. Be very afraid. Boston beat Miami in interleague play, 6-3, at Fenway Park. Record: 41-45. Game 86/76.
#RedSox Game Summary (July 10) A bungled opportunity. If the Red Sox had won this game against the Yankees, they would have had the longest winning streak of their year, and started a serious run at the AL East. But serious miscues in the 4th inning sunk those chances. Mike Napoli and, surprisingly, Brock Holt, muffed balls that led to a 3 run inning that guaranteed victory to the Bronx Bombers. Also, and perhaps more distressing, Clay Buchholz left in the same inning, with what was described as “elbow tightness”. Given his history of medical issues, this may have been done out of an abundance of caution, or it may signal a more serious issue. Let’s hope it’s the former. Meanwhile, the lone Sox run came on a solo homer by Brock Holt, while a homer by Alex Rodriguez in the first inning, that flew over the Monster and down to Lansdowne Street, started the Yankees attack. In the end, although both bullpens were effective (although Craig Breslow walked Chris Young and hit Didi Gregarious leading to another run on a Jacoby Ellsbury single), the New Yorkers were able to hold off Boston. New York beat Boston, 5-1, at Fenway Park. Record: 41-46. Game 87/75.
#RedSox Game Summary (July 11) Bouncing back. The Red Sox were derailed in their attempt to enter the All Star break with a winning streak, but managed to put together enough runs to get back on track. Despite an early solo home run by Alex Rodriguez (again), the Olde Towne Team put together an attack that ultimately won the day over their historic rivals, the Yankees. In the 2nd, trailing 1-0 (thanks to A-Rod’s blast), Alejandro De Aza singled, stole 2nd, and took advantage of a throwing error by Yankee catcher John Ryan Murphy to take 3rd and score on a fielder’s choice, tying the score. In the 4th, with David Ortiz on first, Hanley Ramirez launched a towering 2 run blast. In the 7th, Mookie Betts drove in De Aza with a triple, then scored on a Xander Bogaerts single, putting the Sox on top to stay. Our old friend Jacoby Ellsbury homered in the 6th, and scored again in the 8th on a double by Brett Gardner, but it was not enough to influence the outcome. Eduardo Rodriguez had another solid start, going 6 1/3rd innings, giving up 2 runs on 5 hits and a walk, with 2 Ks, for the win. Koji Uehara got his 22nd save. Ivan Nova took the loss for New York. Boston beat New York, 5-3, at Fenway Park. Record: 42-46. Game 88/74.
#RedSox Game Summary (July 12) Stumbling into the break. This game is Exhibit A showing why the Red Sox need better starting pitching. Wade Miley got into a little trouble in the 2nd, giving up a 2 run dinger to Brian McCann, giving the Yankees an early lead, but the Sox came right back with a succession of singles that yielded a 3-2 lead. Then in the 5th, with runners on 1st and 3rd (thanks to a McCann double), Miley balked to tie the score. (I have to admit, his move to 1st has always looked questionable.) Although he got three quick outs after that, one could not help but notice that the Yanks were now connecting with Miley’s pitches. In the 6th, all mystery was gone, as New York drove Miley from the game with a single and a pair of doubles (by Alex Rodriguez and Chris Young). A Chase Headley double off Tommy Layne made sure that all Miley’s runners scored, and the Bombers had a 6-3 lead. In the 9th, Rob Refsnyder’s 2 run blast off Alexi Ogando added icing to the Yankee cake, and though the Sox tried to come back with 2 of their own in the bottom of the inning (they scored off our old friend Andrew Miller on a walk, a couple of errors, and a sac fly) it was not enough to rescue this game or series. New York beat Boston, 8-6, at Fenway Park. Record: 42-47. Game: 89/73. Now we get to brood for a few days over what the Red Sox front office might do here.
#RedSox Game Summary (July 18) A beautiful game. I know that soccer (or what the rest of the world calls “football”) is known as “the beautiful game” but when you get a pitchers’ duel like this, it’s hard not to steal the title. We got not just the good, but very good Wade Miley this time, and he went 7+ innings giving up just 1 hit with 2 walks and 6 strikeouts. Junichi Tazawa did his part, with a perfect 8th inning. On the Angels’ side, CJ Wilson gave up 5 hits and 3 walks with 4 Ks over the same 8 innings. The only extra base hits came when Xander Bogaerts doubled in the first off Wilson, and Kole Calhoun broke up Miley’s no-hitter with a double in the 7th. That was, until the end. In the bottom of the 9th, with 2 out, Mike Trout ended it with a solo homer off Koji Uehara. This was a game that seemed a shame to end and, for Red Sox fans especially, to end as it did. Los Angeles at Anaheim beat Boston, 1-0, at Angels Stadium (the Big A). Record: 42-48. Game 90/72.
#RedSox Game Summary (July 18) Tip of the cap. Sometimes, you just have to say, “Nice game.” Garrett Richards pitched a gem for the Angels, a 2 hit complete game shutout. Rick Porcello was somewhat uneven, but made only a few bad mistakes. One came after walking runners into scoring position. hurt further by a borderline error by Pablo Sandoval (even if he had not dropped the ball on the transfer, it was doubtful that he would have caught the runner with the throw), and throwing a wild pitch in the 2nd inning to Jonny Giavotella, allowing David Freese to score the first run. The other two mistakes were a two-seam fastball that was supposed to drop down but stayed up instead, and a breaking ball that caught too much of the plate, both to Kole Calhoun, both sent into the seats. Now the best the Sox can hope for is to split this series. Los Angeles at Anaheim beat Boston, 3-0, at Angels Stadium. Record: 42-49. Game 91/71.
#RedSox Game Summary (July 20, game 1) A hard lesson. Rookie pitchers soon learn that when they don’t have their best stuff, they had better improvise, or they will get hammered. Eduardo Rodriguez learned this lesson the hard way. He slipped up in the 2nd inning, and the Angels pounded him so quickly, that John Farrell could not react until there were 7 runs on the board, driven by a Daniel Robertson double, and home runs from Kole Calhoun, Albert Pujols, and David Freese. The Sox just seemed deflated after that, and although Xander Bogaerts (2-for-3) and Shane Victorino (2-for-4) had a pretty good day at the plate, the Sox went 9-for-35 altogether, with 14 strikeouts. The only Boston run came in the 4th, when David Ortiz scored from second on a single by Mike Napoli. The Halos tacked on 4 more runs in the bottom of the inning, just to make sure the Sox wouldn’t get any ideas. Los Angeles of Anaheim beat Boston, 11-1, at Angels Stadium. Record: 42-50. Game 92/70.
#RedSox Game Summary (July 20 game 2) Fallout shelter. It’s as if the Red Sox were hit by an atom bomb. Coming into the Angels series, they had a winning record in the making, with solid momentum on their side, but that all ended with an ignominious conclusion, scoring just 1 one run against 22 Angels runs in this series. to concede a sweep. In this game, the Sox recalled the knuckleballer Steven Wright to face Andrew Heaney. Let’s be clear: Wright is in the rotation because Clay Buchholz was taken out due to some sort of vague muscle strain. Wright has not been a consistent starter for the Sox, and may have found a place as a reliever, had not circumstances made his start in this situation necessary. In the 3rd, Wright walked one, allowed 2 to reach on singles, walked in a run, and gave up 3 runs on singles, to put the Sox down 5-0 (in the 2nd, Albert Pujols had a solo HR). The Sox made it somewhat interesting when David Ortiz ht a 2 run blast in the 6th, but Pujols countered with another blast in the 7th. So, in the end, Boston ended this series a total disaster. Los Angeles at Anaheim beat Boston, 7-3, at Angels Stadium. Record: 42-51. Game 93/69.
#RedSox Scraping the bottom of the barrel. This is nothing against Brian Johnson, who may become a fine pitcher someday. Today was not that day, as the Sox called him from Pawtucket to pitch his first major league game for a team in free-fall. What could go wrong? After giving up a first inning run to the Astros on a walk, single, and sac fly, he seemed to settle down and hold off the ‘Stros, as the Red Sox built up a 3-1 lead. Then, with Houston’s second pass through the order, the hitters made their adjustments, and a series of singles followed by a double steal and throwing error by Ryan Hanigan led to the early exit of Johnson. Enter Justin Masterson to pour gasoline on the fire. A double in the 5th by Carlos Correa and a double by Hank Conger in the 6th, followed by a 2 run dinger by Chris Carter put this one away for Houston. The 3 Red Sox runs came in the 3rd on 4 hits, including doubles by Hanigan and Mookie Betts. The frustrating thing about this is that we have known since spring training that this team cannot go all the way without a boost in starting pitching, and given the disappointing seasons of Rick Porcello, Wade Miley, and Joe Kelly (never mind the usual Clay Buchholz injury), this season is pretty much in the toilet. They could still finish with a winning record, even without a postseason chance, if they get a stud pitcher. Or, they could boot the season. Again. And lose millions in revenue. Sox fans should hold off their anger over individual players, and focus it where it belongs: Red Sox management. Houston beat Boston, 8-3, at Minute Maid Park. Record: 42-52. Game 94/68.
#RedSox Game Summary (July 22) Loozas without Mizoozas. Back in 1979, when my roommate would find me watching the Red Sox, he would say, “Why are you watching those guys? They’re loozas without mizoozas.” This kind of sums up how the 2015 Red Sox are shaping up. They recalled Joe Kelly, who, despite a solo dinger by Houston’s Preston Tucker, and another run in the 4th, seemed to be having an OK night until the 5th, when a 2 run blast by Evan Gattis put the game away for Houston. Not that the Sox didn’t have their chances. They scored 2 in the 6th when Dustin Pedroia doubled to drive in Blake Swihart and then scored on a Xander Bogaerts single. They had 2 on with 1 out in the 7th and did not score, and several other hits scattered across the game. The thing is, when you feel the pitchers will give up whatever runs you score, it kind of undermines your motivation. The Astros’ Collin McHugh was not all that mysterious, but came away with the win. Houston beat Boston, 4-2, at Minute Maid Park. Record: 42-53. Game 95/67. Rant to follow.
#RedSox Game Summary (July 23) A winless trip. The Red Sox were swept by both the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Houston Astros, to make the first road trip after the All Star trip a complete bust. Wade Miley had a good start for Boston, leaving the game with a 2-1 lead (he gave up 1 run on 4 hits and 5 walks with 4 Ks over 6 innings), having surrendered his only run on a solo dinger by the Astros’ Marwin Gonzalez. But in the 7th, Colby Rasmus tied the score with a solo homer, and Houston scored 2 more runs on 3 hits including a double by Gonzalez. all off Alexi Ogando, giving Houston the lead. Boston’s runs came on a RBI double by David Ortiz, and a solo blast by Mike Napoli. In the 8th, Big Papi homered, and Napoli had a RBI double to tie the score at 4. In the bottom of the 9th, Craig Breslow, who had a successful 8th, surrendered a homer to Jose Altuve, to end it, and ensure a midseason disaster for the Red Sox. Houston beat Boston, 5-4, at Minute Maid Park. Record: 42-54/66.
#RedSox Game Summary (July 24) The spell is broken. Xander Bogaerts did it with a RBI single in the 11th inning, to finally end an 8 game losing streak. This was a classic pitching matchup, and it did not disappoint. Detroit’s Justin Verlander showed his championship form tonight, going 8 innings, and giving up just 1 run on 7 hits and no walks, with 3 Ks.The one run came on a Brock Holt single that drove in Shane Victorino. Rick Porcello looked like the guy the Sox had bargained for, also giving up his only run in the 3rd on an Ian Kinsler single that scored Jose Iglesias (Porcello finished with 7 innings pitched, giving up 1 run on 5 hits and no walks, with 6 punch-outs). So the score remained until the 11th, when Mookie Betts walked and scored on the Bogaerts single. Xander had a fine night, going 3-for-5 overall. More of these, please. Boston beat Detroit, 2-1 in 11 innings, at Fenway Park. Record: 43-54. Game 97/65.
#RedSox Game Summary (July 25) Desperate times. After his fine performance last night, Rick Porcello deserves an ace in the rotation alongside him. Instead, he has Steven Wright. They young knuckleballer may become the next Tim Wakefield, but right now he’s not fooling anybody, least of all the Detroit Tigers. He gave up 4 runs (only 2 earned) on 5 hits and 2 walks with 4 strikeouts. One of those runs came off a solo homer in the 1st by Yoenis Cespedes (remember him?). Nick Castellanos and our old friend Julio Iglesias both doubled off Wright; Castellanos later hit a solo dinger off Noe Ramirez. Meanwhile, the Sox were only able to muster 1 run on 5 hits off Tiger starter Alfredo Simon, and they did nothing against the bullpen. Hanley Ramirez had a pretty good day, going 2-for-4, while Blake Swihart tripled and scored the only run off a single by Mookie Betts. David Ortiz doubled, but to no avail. Detroit beat Boston, 5-1, at Fenway Park. Record: 43-55. Game 98/64. Cole Hamels had a no-hitter today, by the way. Just sayin’.
#RedSox Game Summary (July 26) Badda-boom! Inspired by a solid starting performance by Eduardo Rodriguez, the Red Sox lineup put on an explosive scoring display, led by David Ortiz, who went 4-for-5 with two home runs and 7 RBI. Blake Swihart, Hanley Ramirez, and Mike Napoli doubled. Xander Bogaerts also went 4-for-5 and scored 2 runs. All in all, the Red Sox had a season high 20 hits against the Tigers, who were able to score just 1 run on 3 hits over 7 innings against Rodriguez, who allowed 3 hits, struck out 6, and walked 1. Detroit’s Shane Green looked good for the first 3, but then it all came undone for the Tigers. Boston beat Detroit, 11-1, at Fenway Park, to win the series. Record: 44-55, Game 99/63. Cole Hamels is still available. Just sayin’.
#RedSox Game Summary (July 27) The South Side Stumble vs the Fenway Fumble. This game was just a mess from beginning to end. Pitchers on both sides should want to burn any record of it. We had errors, passed balls, mental mistakes, Mike Napoli getting ejected for slamming his helmet so hard after striking out that it hit the umpire. Real highlight reel stuff. Neither starter, Joe Kelly for Boston, or John Danks for Chicago, had a night to remember. The lead changed hands 4 times. The White Sox finally cinched it in the 7th when JB Shuck doubled and scored on a Tyler Flowers single, while Flowers scored on an Adam Eaton single. The Red Sox tried to come back, but could muster just one run in the 9th when Daniel Nava scored on a Pablo Sandoval single that had resulted from a slight muff by Chicago second baseman Avisail Garcia. They got back the run Chicago had gotten from a RBI double by Flowers in the top of the inning. It was that kind of game. Red Sox highlights included 2 run homer by David Ortiz, and doubles by Ryan Hannigan, Mookie Betts, and Panda. Betts went 3-for-5 for the night. Chicago beat Boston, 10-8, at Fenway Park. Record: 44-56. Game: 100/62.
#RedSox Game Summary (July 28) Don’t mess with Mr. In-Between. There has never been anything in-between about Wade Miley. He has been lights-out, or blown up early. This game was one of the latter. After giving up a walk and a single in the 1st inning, Miley gave up doubles to Melky Cabrera, Geovany Soto, and Emilio Boniface which, combined with another single, resulted in 5 runs for the White Sox. Pablo Sandoval attempted to get a rally going with a 2 run homer, but it was not to be. Chicago tacked on additional runs, aided by homers from Jose Abreu, and Soto, doubles by Alexei Ramirez, Abreu, and Carlos Sanchez, and a Cabrera triple, for a total of 9 runs. The Red Sox hit a series of singles to score 2 runs in the 9th, but it was not enough. Chicago beat Boston, 9-4, at Fenway Park. Record: 44-57. Game 101/61.
#RedSox Game Summary (July 29) Misplaced faith. Red Sox ownership and baseball analysts believed that Boston’s weak pitching rotation would be sufficiently buoyed by the signing of Rick Porcello (4 years for 82.5 million dollars) to make them competitive in the weak AL East, but recent performance shows that such faith was not only misplaced, but that this mistake was a key reason (although not the only one) for why the Red Sox record was so bad this year. When a starter routinely gives up 4-5 runs or more in the first few innings, it’s pretty hard for the team to come back. In this game, Porcello pitched 2 innings, giving up 6 runs (5 earned) on 10 hits (including homers by Adam Eaton, Alexi Ramirez, and a double by Carlos Sanchez) and a walk with 2 Ks. That was pretty much it. Emboldened by their huge lead, White Sox starter Jose Quintana and the bullpen had little trouble holding the Boston batters at bay. The Red Sox had 2 runs on 7 hits, including home runs by Mike Napoli and doubles by Napoli, Ryan Hanigan, and Rusney Castillo. Meanwhile, Cole Hamels went to the Rangers, which means that, unless the Red Sox management come up with another stud pitcher soon, fans will quit buying tickets and merchandise, stop watching NESN, and the Red Sox will most likely see a decline in the 10s of millions of dollars for the rest of this year and part of next year. Maybe they just don’t care. I am trying to figure it out. Chicago beat Boston, 9-2, at Fenway Park. Record: 44-58. Game: 102/60.
#RedSox Game Summary (July 30) Imagine. This game gives us a sense of what it would be like if there were a dependable pitching rotation, and the hitters could just swagger up to the plate and swing away. The Sox hammered White Sox starter Chris Sale for 7 runs on 12 hits and a walk, though Sales did get 7 strikeouts. The only extra base hits were David Ortiz’s double, and a solo blast by Rusney Castillo off Chicago reliever Matt Albers. Red Sox starter Steven Wright’s knuckleball danced in the dank air of the on again, off again rainy evening (the game start was delayed an hour by rain) and he held off the White Sox for 7 innings, giving up 2 runs on 6 hits (both runs on a homer by Jose Abreu) and 2 walks, with 8 strikeouts. In the end, the Sox piled up 13 hits on 34 at-bats, with 2 walks. Xander Bogaerts went 3-for-4, and Castillo and Blake Swihart each went 2-for-4. These guys can hit, and score runs. Please, please, get them some pitching. Boston beat Chicago, 8-2, at Fenway Park. Record: 45-58. Game: 103/59.
#RedSox Game Summary (July 31) Zero to hero. Recently, there has been a lot of criticism of Mike Napoli, and some have urged for trading him. Today, he showed his mettle, with a game winning home run. The postseason is now out of reach, but the Red Sox can still show that they are competitors. Mike did that today. In the first inning, the Red Sox scratched out 3 runs to erase a 1 run Tampa Bay lead, and take over the game. Starter Eduardo Rodriguez did not have his best game, giving up 3 runs on 6 hits (including a double by Mike Mahtook), with 4 walks. He did strike out 4. The Sox picked up a run in the 5th to take the lead temporarily, but that was wiped out by a 2 run double by John Jaso. But in the bottom of the inning, Napoli’s 2 run blast recovered the lead, and in the 8th, Blake Swihart doubled and scored on a single by Josh Rutledge (who was acquired, in part, for Shane Victorino). Koji Uehara closed it out. Boston beat Tampa Bay, 7-5. Record: 46-58. Game: 104/58.
#RedSox Game Summary (August 1) Winning streak! It’s official; they won 3 in a row. Joe Kelly was largely ineffective against the Rays, giving up 5 runs on 9 hits and a walk, though he did get 6 Ks, over 5 innings. So, the Sox hitters decided that they only way to win this one was to beat the crap out of Tampa Bay, and that’s just what they did. As a team, they went 16-for-36, with 3 doubles and 2 home runs. Both homers came off the bat of rookie Travis Shaw, including his first major league dinger. He also got his first major league double. The other doubles were hit by Rusney Castillo and Xander Bogaerts. Shaw went 4-for-4, Bogaerts was 4-for-5, and Castillo went 3-for-4. The Rays got in some knocks of their own, with Logan Forsythe homering late in the game, doubles by Asdrubal Cabrera and Brandon Guyer. In the end, though, they were overwhelmed by Red Sox firepower. Boston beat Tampa Bay, 11-7, at Fenway Park. Record: 47-58. Game 105/57.
#RedSox Game Summary (August 2) So much for the streak. Junichi Tazawa has been disappointing lately, and giving up hits and runs late in games, and this was another example. Red Sox starter Wade Miley was pretty good today, going 6 2/3rds innings, giving up 2 runs on 6 hits and a walk with 4 punch-outs. The two runs came when he surrendered a solo blast to the very first Rays hitter he faced, Brandon Guyer, and a RBI double to James Loney in the 4th. He left with a 3-2 lead in the 7th, and deserved the win, but didn’t get it. The Red Sox had other opportunities to score in this game, but settled for the 3 runs that came in the 1st and 3rd innings. Hanley Ramirez doubled in the first inning to score Xander Bogaerts, and scored himself on a single by Mike Napoli. In the 3rd, Xander Bogaerts (who was hit by a pitch) scored on a David Ortiz double. Tazawa came in as the setup man in the 8th, but gave up doubles to Evan Longoria and Asdrubal Cabrera, and a RBI single to Loney to surrender the lead and earn the blown save. Brandon Boxberger closed out for Tampa Bay, striking out the side with 97-98 MPH fastballs. Travis Shaw had another good game, going 2-for-4, as did Ramirez. Tampa Bay beat Boston, 4-3, at Fenway Park. Record: 47-59. Game: 106/56.
#RedSox Game Summary (August 4) Forgettable. It was a close, back-and-forth game until the 6th, when it all came undone for the Red Sox. Not only did the Yankees blow out Boston, but the Sox did not exactly cover themselves in glory in the process. Xander Bogaerts collected a throwing error, Blake Swihart missed two popups, and the fielding was not sharp in general. This was the major league debut for LHP Henry Owens, who was a little shaky in the first, but settled down to retire 12 Yankees in a row. Owens was protecting a 2-1 lead going into the bottom of the 6th, and then, well, it was a rough first start for Owens. Chris Young singled, Alex Rodriguez doubled, and that was it for Henry, but he left responsible for 2 runners, both of whom scored off Robbie Ross Jr. on a Mark Teixeira single and Brian McCann double. Teixeira scored on a fielder’s choice to make it 4-2 New York. The Sox got one back in the 7th on a Pablo Sandoval solo homer, and the game still looked winnable, but then came the bottom of the inning… an inning that seemed like it would never end. A parade of Sox pitchers, including Jean Machi, Craig Breslow, and Alexi Ogando gave up 6 hits including homers to McCann and Young, and doubles to Carlos Beltran and Chase Headley, as well as 3 walks. Add in the Bogaerts error, and it was 13-3. The 3 Red Sox runs came on 7 hits, including two doubles by Mike Napoli. New York beat Boston, 13-3, at Yankee Stadium. Record: 47-60. Game 107/55.
#RedSox Game Summary (August 5) Knuckleball gem. Steven Wright had it all going on in this one, baffling Yankee hitters for 8 innings, collecting 9 strikeouts while giving up just 1 run on 4 hits and 2 walks. The only New York run came on a solo homer by Carlos Beltran. Yankee pitching was pretty solid as well, led by Luis Severino, who gave up 2 runs on no hits and a walk while striking out 7 over 5 innings. The two Sox runs came when Mike Napoli scored on an Alexandro De Aza double in the 2nd, and on a solo blast by David Ortiz in the 4th. Pablo Sandoval went 2-for-4 in this game; both hits were doubles. Boston beat New York, 2-1, at Yankee Stadium. Record: 48-60. Game 108/54.
#RedSox Game Summary (August 6) A master plies his craft. CC Sabathia is not what he used to be, but in this game, he looked like the guy that once won a Cy Young Award. The Yankee starter went 6 innings, giving up just 1 run on 3 hits and 3 walks, while striking out 8. The only Boston run came in the 5th on a walk and 2 hits, including a RBI single by Rusney Castillo. The Yankee bullpen, including our old friend Andrew Miller, kept the Sox scoreless from there. It was a tough luck outing for Eduardo Rodriguez, who pitched well enough to win, but surrendered a RBI double to Alex Rodriguez in the 3rd, and a solo blast by Jacoby Ellsbury. New York beat Boston, 2-1, at Yankee Stadium. Record: 48-61. Game 109/53.
RedSox Game Summary (August 7) Gas and a blast. Joe Kelly set aside his ghastly record for 2015, and was just blowing Tigers away tonight. His one rough inning was the 4th, when he gave up a 2 run blast to JD Martinez, but he recovered control, and although he got into a lot of trouble in the 5th, loading the bases, John Farrell kept him in, and he rewarded Farrell’s faith by getting out of that inning. The Sox, on the other hand, started out early with a 2 RBI double by Hanley Ramirez in the first inning. David Ortiz launched a 2 run homer in the 3rd. In the 6th, Xander Bogaerts doubled, driving in 2 runs. All in all, the Red Sox went 13-for-40 in this one. It got scary in the 9th, when Justin Masterson gave up a double to Nick Castellanos and walked 2 to load the bases. Koji Uehara came in to save this one, but it was a painful win, as Koji took a line drive off the forearm. Boston beat Detroit, 7-2, at Comerica Park. On a somewhat sad note, Mike Napoli was traded tonight for a player to be named later, or cash. Mike was a real team player, and will be missed. Record: 49-61. Game 110/52.
#RedSox Game Summary (August 8) Looking good… oh wait… crap. Wade Miley was solid in the first 4 innings against the Tigers, and it looked like we were getting the “good” Miley, but then came the 5th,when he gave up a single, followed by homer to Rajai Davis. John Farrell wanted another inning out of him but he was clearly out of gas in the 6th, surrendering 4 hits, including doubles by JD Martinez and James McCann. He ended up leaving the game trailing 5-3. The three Red Sox runs came when David Ortiz doubled in the 2nd, and scored on a Travis Shaw sac fly, Blake Swihart singled and scored on a fielder’s choice in the 3rd, and Big Papi homered in the 6th. The Sox scored 3 runs on 4 hits in the 7th to retake the lead, 6-5, but then came Junichi Tazawa, who has become the clearest route to victory… for the other side. A 2 run blast by Victor Martinez off Tazawa was all it took to seal Boston’s fate on this night. Detroit beat Boston, 7-6, at Comerica Park. Record:49-62. Game 111/51. On another note, Big Papi’s performance tonight vested his option, so he is in with the Sox through 2016, with escalators based on plate appearances through the end of the year.
#RedSox Game Summary (August 9) A deposit on the future. Henry Owens did well in his second start, facing the storied Tiger ace Justin Verlander (though, to be honest, he has not been his old self this year), and showed promise for the future. He gave up just one run (when VIctor Martinez singled in a run in the 3rd) on 3 hits and 4 walks over 5 innings, while striking out 2. The other Tiger run came when Jefry Marte homered off of Justin Masterson in the 7th. Meanwhile, Verlander escaped in the 2nd with just 2 runs after a series of walks and infield hits. He finished giving up 4 hits and 3 walks, while striking out 7, over 6 innings. Jackie Bradley, Jr. homered in the 7th to increase the Boston lead, but the Sox really put this one away in the 8th, with 4 hits, capped by a 3 run triple by Bradley, and a RBI single by Brock Holt. This was something to build on. Boston beat Detroit, 7-2, at Comerica Park. Record: 50-62. Game 112/50.
#RedSox Game Summary (August 11) They shoot relievers, don’t they? Maybe they should. Steven Wright managed a decent start, going 5 innings and leaving with a 2-0 lead, which the Red Sox promptly expanded to a 4-0 bulge. The Sox were bolstered by triples from Jackie Bradley, Jr., and Rusney Castillo. They also got a double from Mookie Betts. Unfortunately, the Marlins came back on a triple by Dee Gordon, and doubles by JD Realtmuto and Martin Prado as well as numerous hits and walks. Junichi Tazawa, who was pretty reliable in the early part of the year, has been terrible in the past couple of months, and got the blown save. Craig Breslow, who has been equally disappointing, took the loss in the 10th, in a game the Sox should have won. Miami beat Boston in interleague play, 5-4 in 10 innings. Record: 50-63. Game 113/49.
#RedSox Game Summary (August 12) Will work for pitchers. The Red Sox are so desperate for good pitchers that maybe they should stand by the side of the road with a cardboard sign and beg for them. Eduardo Rodriguez, who will probably be great one day, was not do much on this day, allowing 4 runs to the Marlins in the first 5 innings, and then, oh my goodness. In the 6th, he allowed a series of singles followed by a Ichiro Suzuki triple to plate 3 runs and turn a 4-4 tie into a 7-4 deficit. In comes Ryan Cook, who gives up a five more singles to load the bases, and then a grand slam to JT Realmuto to turn the game into a laugher, 14-4. Previously, Eduardo had surrendered a double to Cole Gillespie, a triple to Realmuto, and a homer to Dee Gordon. All in all, he was charged with 8 runs on 9 hits and a walk, with 2 Ks. The four Sox runs came on 8 hits, including doubles by Xander Bogaerts and Alejandro De Aza. Big Papi tacked on 2 more with a blast in the 7th. I really hope the Sox solve their pitching problem soon for 2016. Miami beat Boston in interleague play, 14-6. Record: 50-64. Game: 114/48.
[Note: On August 14, John Farrell announced that he was taking a medical leave for treatments to cure his lymphoma, and would be out for the rest of the year. Bench coach Torey Lovullo took over as acting manager for the balance of the season.]
#RedSox Game Summary (August 14) “A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down the pants.” – Chuckles the Clown, from the Mary Tyler Moore Show. Every once in a while, we need a break from the long mournful slog toward oblivion in this 2015 season. We got it with this laugher versus the Mariners. The Sox pounded Seattle starter Mike Montgomery for 9 runs on 10 hits in 2 1/3rd innings, and did not let up from there. In the end, they accumulated 15 runs on 21 hits, including home runs by Rusney Castillo and two by Travis Shaw, triples from Brock Holt and Mookie Betts, and doubles from David Ortiz, Pablo Sandoval, Holt, Jackie Bradley, Jr., and Alejandro De Aza. All the fireworks distracted from a fine start by Joe Kelly, who went 6 innings, giving up just 4 hits and 1 walks while striking out 6. The only run came on a Kyle Seager solo shot in the first inning. Austin Jackson, Robinson Cano, and Logan Morrison also doubled for Seattle. As we wait to see what big changes may be coming in the off-season, let us luxuriate in moments like this. Boston beat Seattle, 15-1, at Fenway Park. Record: 51-64. Game 115/47. On a personal note, I will be at Fenway on Monday. Go Sox!
#RedSox Game Summary (August 15) Second verse, same as the first. For a second time in a row, the Red Sox utterly pounded the hapless Mariners, this time with “King” Felix Hernandez starting on the mound. Jackie Bradley, Jr. set a new franchise record with 5 extra base hits in a single game, including 2 home runs and 3 doubles. The fans in the stands at Fenway watched in slack-jawed astonishment as the fireworks lasted throughout the game, and were probably wondering, “where has this been all year?” King Felix, like his predecessor yesterday, was driven from the game after just 2 1/3rd innings, haven given up 10 runs on 12 hits, including 3 homers. In the end, the Sox pounded out 26 hits for 22 runs. In addition to Bradley’s two dingers, Pablo Sandoval and Alejandro De Aza also contributed four-baggers. Brock Holt, Blake Swihart, and David Ortiz added doubles to the 3 from JBJ, who went 5-for-6 in the game. Swihart went 4-for-5, and De Aza went 3-for-5. Once again, lost in all the excitement was the fact that Wade Miley gave up just 2 runs on 4 hits and 3 walks over 7 innings, with 8 punchouts; an excellent day for him. Aaron Cook had another bad game, giving up 5 runs on 5 hits over just two-thirds of an inning, but it hardly mattered. This was the second time the Sox beat the estimable King Felix, the other was back on May 16 at Safeco Field when they won, 4-2. Boston beat Seattle, 22-10, at Fenway Park. Record: 52-64. Game 116/46.
#RedSox Game Summary (August 16) A storybook ending… almost. The Red Sox came back from a 7-1 deficit in the 3rd inning to tie it up in the 9th. Then, well, after a bit of struggle, along came Craig Breslow. To begin with, Henry Owens had another rough start for Boston, giving up 7 runs to the Mariners over 6 innings on 10 hits (including 3 homers) and a walk with 10 strikeouts (!). Robinson Cano homered, and Franklin Gutierrez had a pair, with a double by Ketel Marte, to pound Owens. Nelson Cruz homered, Seth Smith tripled, and Cano also doubled in the game. The Red Sox came roaring back on homers by Xander Bogaerts and Rusney Castillo, and doubles by Travis Shaw and Brock Holt. The game went into extra innings, when Breslow took charge in the 12th, and through a series of bad pitches and an epic misplay, blundered away the game. Seattle beat Boston at Fenway Park, 10-8, in 12 innings. Record: 52-65. Game 117/45.
#RedSox Game Summary (August 17) Out of steam. On a hot, muggy night, all the steam was on the outside, as the Red Sox were unable to muster the energy to overcome a tepid Indians team. Cleveland starter Danny Salazar was quite effective, going 7 innings and giving up just 1 run on 4 hits. The Sox got just 2 runs overall, one on a solo homer by Travis Shaw in the 3rd, and another in the 9th when Josh Rutledge, running for David Ortiz, scored on a Shaw single. Shaw was, in fact, the only bright spot for the Red Sox, going 2-for-4 in the game. Sox fielding was spotty as well, with Brock Holt dropping a ball covering first on a bunt, that helped set up a 5 run Indian 4th inning, and Hanley Ramirez bungling a fly ball in left in the 4th. This was a rough first career start for Boston’s Matt Barnes, who went 5 innings, giving up 6 runs on 6 hits and 3 walks. He did strike out 7, though. The Indians had 10 hits overall, including homers by Carlos Santana and Lonnie Chisenhall, and 3 doubles. Cleveland beat Boston, 8-2, at Fenway Park. Record: 52-66. Game 118/44.
#RedSox I hate to admit it, but we must declare the Hanley Ramirez experiment, moving him from short to left, to be an unqualified failure. He can’t go to short now, because displacing Xander Bogaerts is out of the question. If putting him at first doesn’t work out, a trade may be the only remaining option.
#RedSox Game Summary (August 18) A new hope. Eduardo Rodriguez had a fine game against the Cleveland Indians, going 8 innings, giving up 1 run on 6 hits with 5 strikeouts. The only run came on a solo blast by Michael Brantley in the 7th inning. Meanwhile, the Red Sox feasted on Cleveland pitching, with 9 runs on 16 hits and 3 walks, including a triple by Brock Holt, doubles by David Ortiz (2), Mookie Betts, and Xander Bogaerts. This is a really good sign for Red Sox pitching going forward (though they still need to find an ace), for 2016. Also significant, Ben Cherrington is out as GM, and Dave Dombrowski, who was recently released by the Detroit Tigers, has taken over as VP of Baseball Operations and GM. Let’s hope this is the start of a new, winning, era. Boston beat Cleveland, 9-1, at Fenway Park. Record: 53-66. Game 119/43.
#RedSox Game Summary (August 20) Beating the best. The Red Sox topped the high flying Kansas City Royals with a combination of pitching and hitting that bodes well for 2016. Wade Miley was solid, giving up just 1 run (a solo homer by Mike Moustakas in the 5th inning) on 6 hits with no walks over 6 innings. He struck out 6. The bullpen took it from there, allowing only a walk. The Sox scored in the 1st on a series of singles and walks, with Mookie Betts crossing the plate. The Sox scored 3 more in the 3rd on 4 hits, including a double by Travis Shaw and a triple by Jackie Bradley, Jr., who is definitely on a hot streak right now. Boston beat Kansas City, 4-1, at Fenway Park. Record: 55-66. Game 121/41.
#RedSox Game Summary (August 21) Summer rental bust. The Royals’ summer rental starter, Johnny Cueto, got the snot kicked out of him by Red Sox hitting in this one. The Sox scored 7 runs off him in 6 innings of work, on 13 hits, including Josh Rutledge’s 2 run dinger, a triple by Rusney Castillo, and doubles from Mookie Betts, Travis Shaw, and Pablo Sandoval. Henry Owens had a quality start for Boston, going 8 innings and giving up 2 runs on 4 hits, including a Ben Zobrist double and a solo blast by Alcides Escobar. The Red Sox have now beaten the best team in the American League twice in a row, and have a 4 game winning streak going on. Boston beat Kansas City, 7-2, at Fenway Park. Record: 56-66. Game 122/40.
#RedSox Game Summary (August 22) Relapse. The Red Sox had to have an off day, and this was it. Matt Barnes, still getting used to the starter role, struggled in the first inning, giving up 2 runs to the Royals on a Kendrys Morales double with 2 on, but seemed to settle down until the 6th, when it all came undone. A 3 run homer by Salvador Perez was all it took to ensure a Kansas City victory. KC got an insurance run in the 8th when Alex Rios singled to drive in Mike Moustakas. The Sox posted no crooked numbers, getting a run in the 6th on a couple of singles and a fielder’s choice, driving in Xander Bogaerts, another in the 7th with a Mookie Betts solo home run, and another in the 9th when Bogaerts singled to drive in Mookie Betts. Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez also doubled in the game, but to no effect. Kansas City beat Boston, 6-3, at Fenway Park. Record: 56-67. Game 123/39.
#RedSox Game Summary (August 23) Hung out to dry. Once again, Junichi Tazawa was utterly ineffective, when he came into the 9th with a 6-4 lead, but for some reason, interim manager Torey Lovullo chose to leave him in when he got into deep trouble, loading the bases with two out, then allowed the Royals to tie the score on a 2 RBI single by Eric Hosmer. Actually, those two outs were really lucky breaks; the first came when Omar Infante attempted to stretch a leadoff triple into a home run and was thrown out at the plate (he went into a slide too early, not taking account the wet ground, and was tagged out easily), and the second came when Xander Bogaerts gave a tremendous leap to snag a line drive that was ticketed for left center. Even after the Royals tied the score, there was no one warming in the Boston bullpen. Perhaps Lovullo and his coaches were trying to see if Tazawa would rally under pressure. He didn’t. Instead, he allowed a 2 run double to to put Kansas City in the lead for good. The inning ended because Kendrys Morales attempted to score a 3rd run and was tagged out at the plate. The outcome spoiled a fairly solid effort by the Red Sox at the plate (although they struggled in the field with 3 errors). The Sox had 11 hits on 33 at-bats, including doubles by Jackie Bradley, Jr., Pablo Sandoval, and Travis Shaw. In addition to the Infante triple and Moustakas double, Mostakas had a homer and another double, and Drew Butera doubled as well. Kansas City beat Boston, 8-6, at Fenway Park. Record: 56-68. Game 124/38.
#RedSox Game Summary (August 24) The danger without the death. The Red Sox controlled this game until the 9th, when Jean Machi put a scare into all of us, giving up 2 runs 3 hits, including a double by Jose Abreu. All ended well, however, as the Red Sox overcame this last inning surge from the White Sox to put this one away. Boston scored 5 runs on 11 hits including a 3 run homer from the newly invigorated Rusney Castillo, who also doubled, as did Hanley Ramirez. Joe Kelly had a very encouraging start, going 7 1/3rd innings while giving up 2 runs on 5 hits and a walk, with 4 strikeouts. The Chicago hits included a homer by Abreu, and doubles by Alexi Ramirez and Adam Eaton. Robbie Ross, Jr. played a key role, bailing Kelly out of a jam in the 8th. Boston beat Chicago, 5-4, at US Cellular Field. Record: 57-68. Game 125/37.
#RedSox Game Summary (August 25) Losing at Little League. The Red Sox benefited from what one commentator called a “Little League home run” when Mookie Betts doubled in the 3rd to drive in Josh Rutledge, then scored himself after a bad throw by White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez to home (to get Josh) was well off the mark, and both pitcher Jose Quintana and catcher Geovany Soto went for the ball, leaving no one covering the plate, and allowing Betts to scamper in for the 2nd run. The Red Sox scored 2 more in the 6th on 3 hits, including a Pablo Sandoval double. That was iy for Boston smiles, however. In the 2nd, after a Red Sox tag play call challenge failed, Trayce Thompson, who had tripled, scored on a fielder’s choice. In the 4th, Chicago scored on a succession of 3 singles. Despite this, Wade Miley’s start had been pretty good. Then came the 7th, and well, good night, nurse. Gordon Beckham, who singled, scored on a RBI single by Melky Cabrera, and Thompson followed with a 2 RBI double, from which Boston could not recover. The Red Sox went quietly after that. Chicago beat Boston, 5-4, at US Cellular Field. Record: 57-69. Game 126/36.
#RedSox Comment (August 25) I must express my extreme disappointment at the decision of NESN (no doubt at the behest of the Red Sox ownership) to choose not to continue with Don Orsillo as the play-by-play man. If you read the attached article, you will see that the reasons are small-minded and petty. I have traveled all over the country and watched lots of baseball in other cities, and I consider the team of Don and Jerry Remy to be far superior to any other. Shame on NESN.
#RedSox Game Summary (August 26) Rick makes good. After a month of rehab, Rick Porcello returned to the Red Sox starting lineup and turned in a gem of a performance, giving up 5 hits and no walks with 5 strikeouts over 7 shutout innings. Robbie Ross, Jr., and yes, Junichi Tazawa finished things out for the win. The highlights for the White Sox: Melky Cabrera and our old friend Adam LaRoche both doubled. Boston got 3 runs on 7 hits and 3 walks, including a 2 run blast by Travis Shaw in the 8th inning. Xander Bogaerts and Josh Rutledge each went 2-for-3 in the game. Boston beat Chicago, 3-0, at US Cellular Field. Record: 58-69. Game: 127/35.
#RedSox Game Summary (August 28) Winning inside the park. When you have the opportunity to witness an inside the park home run, whether in person or on TV, cherish the moment; it doesn’t come every day. Blake Swihart broke a 10th inning tie with an inside the park homer, as his ball ricocheted off the center field wall in a way that baffled Juan Lagares of the Mets, and allowed Blake to race around the bases and score easily. Prior to that, the Mets had scored 2 runs in the 4th and 5th on a succession of hits, and a double by Wilmer Flores. The Sox came roaring back to take the lead in the 7th on a solo dinger by David Ortiz and a 2 run blast by Jackie Bradley, Jr. Alexei Ogando, one of the more problematic members of the Red Sox bullpen, then enabled New York to tie the score by giving up a single, and walking 2, including the tying run. So the score was tied 3-3 into the 10th, when Blake had his round-tripper to break the tie, and that was reinforced by a couple of hits and a sac fly, punctuated by a Mookie Betts double. In the bottom of the 10th, Junichi Tarawa came on (OMG) and walked in a run before Craig Breslow closed things out. Boston beat New York, 6-4 in 10 innings, in interleague play at Citi Field. Record: 59-69. Game 128/34.
#RedSox Game Summary (August 29) Strong from start to finish. Anyone watching this game might be wondering why we have been complaining about the pitching. The staff has developed well over the course of the year, and though that does this year’s team no good, it bodes well for 2016. Joe Kelly had another strong start, notching his 6th straight win, with a 7 1/3rd inning performance in which he yielded 1 run on 5 hits to the Mets (including doubles by Curtis Granderson and Juan Uribe) and 2 walks, while striking out 2. Jacob deGrom was practically untouchable until the 6th inning, when Pablo Sandoval doubled to drive in Mookie Betts (who had singled), and then scored himself on fielder’s choice. In the 7th, Betts homered off reliever Hansel Robles. Travis Shaw and David Ortiz also doubled in the game. It was the only plate appearance for Big Papi, who was not playing in the field due to a sore heel. Tommy Layne and Jean Machi were both very effective for the Sox in relief. Boston beat New York, 3-1 in interleague play. Record: 60-69. Game 129/33.
#RedSox Game Summary (August 30) Back and forth and back and… gone. The Red Sox had plenty of chances in this game, holding the lead twice only to surrender it to the Mets each time. David Ortiz had a 2 run blast to highlight the Boston attack, which also featured a triple by Mookie Betts and double by Jackie Bradley, Jr. Wade Miley had a fair game, leaving after 6 having given up 4 runs on 9 hits and a walk, with 6 Ks. The Mets’ 6th was a big one, highlighted by a double from Juan Uribe as they scored 3 to retake the lead. The Sox nibbled away with 2 in the 7th, but in the 9th, were blown away by Jeurys Familias, who spotted Boston 2 singles, then took them down mostly with scorching fastballs. Boston lost to New York, 5-4 in interleague play, at Citi Field. Record: 60-70. Game 130/32.
#RedSox Game Summary (August 31) The game of living dangerously. This game started out bad, with an error by Pablo Sandoval, and another that went down as catcher interference on Ryan Hanigan. Then a single. Ugh. But after 2 fly outs and a K, Eduardo Rodriguez and the Red Sox escaped the Yankee first with just 1 run on a sac fly. A 2 run dinger by Mookie Betts made us feel better as the Sox took the lead in the 3rd, but in the 4th, Rodriguez gave up a walk and 2 singles to load the bases, then another single to tie the score, and oooooh, this could be bad. But, he escaped without incurring further damage, and in the bottom of the 4th, David Ortiz got that run back with a solo home run. Eduardo loaded the bases AGAIN in the 5th, but escaped harm. In the 7th, Jackie Bradley, Jr. doubled and scored on a fielder’s choice, to give the Sox a bit of insurance. They would need it. In the 9th, Jean Machi loaded the bases once again, with a single and 2 walks, then walked in a run. But he managed to close out without further difficulty. In addition to his homer, Big Papi also doubled in the game. Boston beat New York, 4-3, at Fenway Park. Record: 61-70. Game 131/31.
#RedSox Game Summary (September 1) A best effort falls short. Rick Porcello had one of the best games of his career, going 8 innings, giving up just 1 earned run (there were two other runs, but they followed an error that would have been the third out in the 5th inning, so they were unearned) on 5 hits and one walk, with a career high 13 strikeouts. The Red Sox were unable to do much against Michael Pineda and the other Yankee pitchers, however, scoring just 1 run on 8 hits, including a double by Jackie Bradley, Jr. They struck out 13 times. The 5 Yankee hits included a double by our old friend Stephen Drew, and a solo dinger by Brett Gardner. Another old friend, Andrew Miller, closed out for New York in the 9th, striking out the side. New York beat Boston, 3-1, at Fenway Park. Record: 61-71. Game 132/30.
#RedSox Game Summary (September 2) Not ready for prime time pitching. Henry Owens has had some promising starts since coming up from Pawtucket on August 4th. This was not one of them. He seemed nervous facing the Yankees. His control was way off. As a result, his 2nd inning was your basic pitching nightmare; an 8 run affair (the Yankee fun continued with Ryan Cook after Owens departed). Overall, he lasted for 1 2/3rds innings, giving up 7 runs on 6 hits, including homers by Greg Bird and Daniel Murphy, and a double by our old friend Stephen Drew. Cook, through the 3rd, surrendered 4 runs on 2 hits, both homers: one by Carlos Beltran, and the other by Drew (a busy guy). The Red Sox were feisty enough to be quite annoying to the pinstripes, however, scoring in each of the 5th through 9th innings, inducing a cavalcade of Yankee pitchers as New York manager Joe Girardi kept trying to avoid using any of his valuable arms in a game that was, or should have been, in the bag. In the end, he had to turn to his closer, another old friend of ours, Andrew Miller, to finish Boston off. Didi Gregorius also homered for New York, and Brett Gardner doubled, as the Yanks compiled 13 runs on 15 hits. Boston’s run production would have been good enough on an ordinary day, with 8 runs on 13 hits, including a homer by Xander Bogaerts, and doubles by Mookie Betts, Blake Swihart, and Travis Shaw. New York beat Boston, 13-8, at Fenway Park. Record: 61-72. Game 133/29.
#RedSox Game Summary (September 4) Winning is generally better than losing. Two of the teams with the worst records in the major leagues faced off in this one, so pardon me if I don’t get too excited about the outcome. Joe Kelly had a good start for the Sox, giving up 2 runs on 5 hits and 3 walks, while striking out 5 Phillies. Boston jumped all over Adam Morgan in the first inning to score on a double by Mookie Betts and 2 other hits. Betts doubled again in the 5th to drive in a run, and scored himself on a sac fly. In the 7th, a Boston walk and 4 hits, including a homer by Jackie Bradley, Jr., and a double by David Ortiz, resulting in 4 more runs, giving the Red Sox a commanding 7-2 lead. The 2 Philadelphia runs came in the 4th inning on 2 walks, a HBP, and a walk. So it went until the 9th, when it seemed safe to hand Jean Machi the ball to close things out. Not so safe. After 2 quick outs, 4 successive Philly hits, including a homer by Odubel Herrera, and a double by Aaron Altherr made it a 7-5 game, and Machi was out, thankfully. Robbie Ross, Jr. came on and struck out Ryan Howard, to end the game. Boston beat Philadelphia, 7-5 in interleague play, at Fenway Park. Record: 62-72. Game 134/28.
#RedSox Game Summary (September 5) Irrational exuberance. Maybe the season is essentially over, but sometimes things happen that remind us of the crazy, giddy, magical reason we love this game. In the Red Sox 4th, facing Philly starter Alec Asher, the Sox scored the first run of the game with 3 singles and an Asher balk, but that was not the highlight. Oh no. Another single and a 2 RBI Jackie Bradley, Jr. made it a 3 run inning, but that wasn’t it either. After Mookie Betts walked, Xander Bogaerts came up with 2 out and the bases loaded. Bang! A clean double clears the bases, but Bogaerts kept running. Philadelphia 2nd baseman took the relay and threw wildly, allowing Bogaerts to round 3rd and score a ” grand slam Little League home run”. Pure joy. Then, to cap it off, David Ortiz hit his 496th career home run over the short wall in right field. One inning. eight runs. They scored one more in the 8th when JBJ singled and scored on a fielder’s choice. Wade Miley had a pretty good start, giving up just 2 runs in the 5th when Jeff Francoeur singled, Darnell Sweeney doubled, and Carlos Ruis drove them both in. Wade Miley finished with a complete game, giving up 2 runs on 5 hits while striking out 8 Phillies. He walked no one. Now that’s something to build on. Boston beat Philadelphia 9-2 in interleague play at Fenway Park. Record: 63-72. Game 135/27.
#RedSox Game Summary (September 6) A win is a win, and a sweep is a sweep. OK, so the Phillies suck, and that’s a fact. Still, we’ll take the sweep. It brings the Sox closer to the goal of breaking .500 for the season, and keeps hope alive that they might just finish above last place (it’s a stretch goal). The Red Sox scored all their runs in the first 2 innings off Philadelphia stater Jerad Eickhoff, a rookie who came to the Phillies in the Cole Hamels trade. The first 2 runs came in the 1st on a 2 run blast by David Ortiz, for his 497th career round-tripper. The other 4 came in the 2nd, on 2 walks, 5 hits (including a triple by Jackie Bradley, Jr., and a double by Rusney Castillo, who was later caught stealing on a muffed attempt at 3rd), and a sac fly. The Phillies scored once in the 3rd on 2 hits and a walk, and another in the 9th on 2 singles off Robbie Ross, Jr., helped by Freddy Galvis’s taking 2nd on defensive indifference. Also, Junichi Tarawa pitched the 8th and, for the second time in a row, did not screw it up. Boston beat Philadelphia in interleague play, 6-2, at Fenway Park. Record: 64-72. Game: 136/26.
#RedSox Game Summary (September 7) You’re welcome. Yankees fans cannot complain that the Red Sox never did them any favors. Today, Sox fans got a powerful glimpse of the power lineup of the 2016 Red Sox, as they completely devastated Blue Jays pitching. Jays starter Mark Buehrle lasted just 3 1/3rd innings, giving up 5 runs on 9 hits, including two doubles by David Ortiz. The rest of the staff did not fare much better, as Boston went on to accumulate 11 runs on 19 hits, with home runs by Jackie Bradley, Jr. (who continues to be scorching hot) and Travis Shaw. Rick Porcello was not quite as sharp as his last start, leaving his sinker up a few times, and getting stung, including for two solo dingers, one by Josh Donaldson and Justin Smoak. All in all, he went 8 1/3rd innings, getting charged for 4 runs on 8 hits and 2 walks, while striking out 4. With the Toronto loss and New York win, the Yanks have pulled within half a game of the AL East title spot. Also, the Sox are now tied with Baltimore, engendering hope that they will not finish last. Boston beat Toronto, 11-4, at Fenway Park. Record: 65-72. Game 137/25.
#RedSox Game Summary (September 8) Out of gas. Although Henry Owens had a fairly good start, giving up just 1 run over 6 1/3rd innings, and the bullpen kept Toronto off the board from then until the 10th, Red Sox hitters were unable to step up and provide the runs needed for victory. The first Blue Jay run came in the first inning when Ben Revere was hit by a pitch, and eventually scored on a fielder’s choice. The sole Red Sox run came with a 2nd inning solo dinger by Travis Shaw. The score remained 1-1 until the 10th, when Alexi Ogando, the 7th Boston pitcher, allowed 3 hits (including a triple by Josh Donaldson that hit the ridge at the top of the Green Monster, and was a hair’s breadth from a home run), an intentional walk, a balk, a wild pitch, and a sac fly, resulting in an almost insurmountable 5-1 lead, and ultimate victory for Toronto. Meanwhile, Blue Jays knuckleballer RA Dickey and his pitching staff kept Boston stymied. The Sox had just 4 hits in the game. These included the Shaw dinger and doubles by Pablo Sandoval and the newly reactivated Dustin Pedroia. Toronto beat Boston, 5-1 in 10 innings, at Fenway Park. Record: 65-73. Game 138/24.
#RedSox Game Summary (September 9) Can I get an “Amen”? The deadline trade made last year by the gone-but-not-forgotten Ben Cherrington, sending John Lackey to St. Louis for Joe Kelly and other considerations, is bearing significant fruit. Joe had another excellent start, becoming the first Red Sox pitcher since Pedro Martinez in 1999 to win 8 in a row. He went 5 2/3rds innings, giving up 1 run on 6 hits (all singles) and 2 walks, while fanning 5 Blue Jays. (Toronto picked up another 3 in the 8th on a home run by Chris Colabello, but it did not affect the outcome.) Meanwhile, Toronto starter Drew Hutchinson did not fare so well, exiting in the 4th inning, charged with 6 runs on 6 hits and 2 walks, with 3 Ks. The 6 hits included home runs by Mookie Betts (Betts also doubled in the game) and a 3 run blast by David Ortiz, who crushed number 498 into deep center field. Rusney Castillo and Ryan Hanigan also doubled off of Hutchinson. Blue Jay reliever Steve Delabar handed over 4 more scores, powered by 4 hits, including doubles by Hanigan and Xander Bogaerts, while also walking 2. All in all, the Sox went 14 for 36 leaving only 6 on base, showing that there is nothing fundamentally wrong with this lineup. Incidentally, the Yankees were unable to take advantage of the Blue Jay loss, going down in defeat to Baltimore 5-3 at the Stadium, thanks in part to some bumbling fielding by our old friend, Stephen Drew. So New York remains 1.5 games behind Toronto in the AL East. Boston beat Toronto, 10-4, at Fenway Park. Record: 66-73. Game 139/23.
#RedSox Game Summary (September 11) Ups and downs. Wade Miley looked pretty good in holding off the Rays, after a rough first inning, until the 8th. Miley gave up 4 hits, including doubles by Mike Mahtook and Evan Longoria, for 3 runs right off the bat. The Sox had opened the game with Xander Bogaerts scoring on a David Ortiz double. In the 6th, 4 Sox hits, including a Travis Shaw double, yielded 3 more Boston runs, and a 4-3 lead. Junichi Tarawa came on in the 8th, and the game blew up in his face. Tampa Bay scored 3 runs on 4 hits, including an Asdrubal Cabrera homer and a double by Longoria. Tazawa exited the game, at that point, and Noe Ramirez allowed JP Arencibia to homer, driving in a runner left by Tarawa, so the book on Junichi was 4 runs on 4 hits with one strikeout over 1/3rd inning. This is so frustrating, because Tazawa, who had been steady for most of the year, then struggled in August, had seemed to be getting back to form in the past few weeks. Jerry Remy speculated that perhaps he is overworked. It spoiled a decent start for Miley, who finished with 3 runs on 7 hits with 5 Ks and no walks over 7 innings. Tampa Bay beat Boston, 8-4, at Tropicana Field. Record: 66-74. Game: 140/22.
#RedSox Game Summary (September 12) One for the history books. David Ortiz took a step closer to the Hall of Fame tonight, crushing Home Run Number 500 deep into the center field bleachers at Tropicana Field in the 5th inning off Tampa Bay starter Matt Moore. Prior to that, Big Papi initiated a cavalcade of dingers that turned this game into a laugher early, with Number 499 in the first, a three run shot. Joining in the fun were Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia with solo shots in the 3rd, and Travis Shaw, with a 2 run homer in the 7th. Jackie Bradley, Jr. and Pedroia also doubled. When all was said and done, the Red Sox had 13 hits on 40 at-bats with 3 walks. Rick Porcello had a decent start, going 7 innings while giving up 3 runs on 5 hits (including a homer by John Jaso, and doubles by Evan Longoria and Luke Maile) and 3 walks, while striking out 8 Rays. Heath Hembree gave up a solo round-tripper to Richie Shaffer, for Tampa Bay’s 4th run. One ace pitcher, and we could have a real team on our hands! Boston beat Tampa Bay, 10-4, at Tropicana Field. Record: 67-74. Game: 141/21.
#RedSox Game Summary (September 13) A late season gem. If anyone asks, “why watch games after your team is out of it, especially against other teams that are also out of it,” my answer is: because of games like this. A ferocious pitchers’ duel from start to finish, there were moments of high drama and some excellent fielding plays that kept the goosebumps, as well as the goose-eggs coming, inning after inning. Rays starter Drew Smyly was quite effective, going 6 shutout innings and giving up 4 hits and 2 walks while striking out 11. His successors were not so good at baffling the Sox, giving up bunches of hits (the Sox had 10 in the game, including a double by Rusney Castillo in the 11th), but also no runs, until the end. We were nervous about the Red Sox starter, Boston native Rich Hill, who was picked up by the Sox on waivers from Washington a month ago. He hadn’t pitched in the majors since last year, but must have been saving his skills all year for this moment. He went 7 scoreless innings, giving up just 1 hit and 1 walk while fanning 10. The bullpen took over after that, and held the line right through the 13th (the only Rays extra base hit was a double by Steven Souza, Jr. in the 12th). After the Sox loaded the bases with 3 successive singles off Tampa Bay’s Nick Franklin, Rusney Castillo knocked in 2 with his clutch single to left. Robbie Ross, Jr. came on in the bottom of the 13th to close things out. Heath Hembree got the win. Boston beat Tampa Bay, 2-0 in 13 innings, at Tropicana Field. Record: 68-74. Game 142/20.
#RedSox Game Summary (September 14) All bat and no battle. The Sox could not overcome a succession of Oriole pitchers, and suffered a 3 hits shutout against 5 pitchers, including Kevin Gausman, who got the win. Too bad, too, because Eduardo Rodriguez had a fine start, giving up just 1 run on 6 hits (including a double to Caleb Joseph) and 3 walks while whiffing 9 Orioles. The run against Rodriguez came in the first inning off a fielding error by Josh Rutledge. The other run came in the 7th, driven in by an Adam Jones double off Jean Machi. Some days are like that. Baltimore beat Boston, 2-0, at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Record: 68-75. Game: 133/19.
#RedSox Game Summary (September 15) The not-ready-for-prime-time players. Although it is true that Joe Kelly had to leave the game with shoulder fatigue after giving up 3 runs on 5 hits (including a Steve Pearce homer) and a walk (another runner he left on base scored, to make the total runs he earned 4) and the bullpen struggled to keep the game even, it was clear that this team is not ready for the big stage. Of course, we know that won’t happen this year in any event, but some changes need to be made to give them the confidence and swagger to win an extra innings game against an eliminated club, and those changes need to begin with a stud starter. The Sox were good enough to force extra innings against these Orioles, but not good enough to finish them off, despite opportunities. They had 12 hits on 47 at-bats, including doubles by Dustin Pedroia, Rusney Castillo, and Xander Bogaerts, and a homer by Travis Shaw that tied the game at 5 in the 8th, and sent the game to extras. From then on, the Sox were unable to mount a decent assault, and Baltimore finally ended it in the 13th when Chris Davis singled with 2 on to end it. All in all, the Orioles had 9 hits on 44 at-bats in the game, including the Pearce dinger and another by Manny Machado. Baltimore beat Boston, 6-5 in 13 innings, at Orioles Park at Camden Yards. Record: 68-76. Game: 134/18.
#RedSox Game Summary (September 16) Now that’s better. The Red Sox made up for their lack of offense yesterday with an explosion of runs today. Dustin Pedroia accounted for half the 10 runs scored with a 2 run homer in the 3rd, and a 3 run blast in the 4th. David Ortiz got the scoring going with a solo dinger in the 2nd. Allen Craig’s 8th inning double drove in another run. Altogether, the Red Sox scored 10 runs on 12 hits and 4 walks. Henry Owens had a very good start, pitching 7 2/3rds shutout innings, giving up 6 hits but NO WALKS and striking out 4 Orioles. The sole Baltimore run came when Junior Lake, who reached on an error, scored on a fielder’s choice. Boston beat Baltimore, 10-1, at Orioles Park at Camden Yards. Record: 69-76. Game 145/17.
#RedSox Game Summary (September 18) That’s the way the ball bounces. OK, it’s kitschy, but in this case, it fits, as the ball did not bounce the Red Sox’ way much at all, and when it did, poor infield play did not help. Rick Porcello, whose job as a lowball pitcher is to induce ground balls, did his job, but a combination of miscues, bad bounces, a wild pitch, and the oddities of the Roger Centre’s artificial turf, gave the Blue Jays plenty of opportunity to pile up runs, and they did. Porcello gave up all 6 Toronto runs on 8 hits, including a triple by Ryan Goins, and doubles by Kevin Pillar and Justin Smoak. The sole Red Sox run came in the 5th, when Josh Rutledge drove in Rusney Castillo with a single (it was ruled a ground out on the field, but overruled on replay). Toronto beat Boston, 6-1, at the Rogers Centre. Record: 69-77. Game 146/16.
#RedSox Game Summary (September 19) Something like war. The Sox picked up one in the 6th on a solo homer by Xander Bogaerts, and after the Jays scored twice in the bottom of the inning, they got another to tie it up in the 7th on a ground-rule double by Brock Holt, and a RBI double by Jackie Bradley, Jr. The Jays runs came off Wade Miley when Edwin Encarnacion homered with 1 on, so with the score tied 2-2, we knew we were in for it. In the 8th, Noe Ramirez walked one and gave up 3 consecutive hits for 1 run, then Jean Machi gave up another RBI single, and the Blue Jays led, 4-2. But these Red Sox are never out of it, and in the 9th, the Sox scored 5 runs on 5 hits, a walk and an intentional walk, punctuated by a Jackie Bradley, Jr. 2 run dinger. The Jays got 2 back on a 2 run four-bagger by Jose Bautista, but it was not enough to over come the Boston surge. Boston beat Toronto, 7-6, at the Rogers Centre. Record: 70-77. Game 147/15.
#RedSox Game Summary (September 20) A victory well earned. For Boston native Rich Hill, making his second start since returning to the Red Sox, this victory must have been especially sweet, given how his boys rallied to get it. After a rough 2nd inning, in which he gave up 3 runs on 5 hits including a Dioner Navarro 2 run dinger, Hill settled down to blank the Blue Jays through the 7th, giving up just one other extra base hit, a double to Russell Martin, for a total of 3 runs on 7 hits over 7 innings, while striking out 10 Blue Jays and walking no one. Meanwhile, Toronto starter Mark Buehrle was getting into and out of trouble on a regular basis, including in the 4th, when Xander Bogaerts, who had singled, scored on a Buehrle throwing error. In the 5th, after giving up 2 singles, Buehrle walked David Ortiz to load the bases, and Travis Shaw (who went 3-for-4 in the game) made him pay with a 2 RBI single to tie it up. The winning run came in the 8th, when Pablo Sandoval, who had singled, went to third on a single and a ground out, then scored on a Jackie Bradley, Jr. sac fly. Noe Ramirez and Robbie Ross, Jr. did their jobs in closing it out. Rusney Castillo also doubled in the contest. Boston beat Toronto, 4-3, at the Rogers Centre. Record: 71-77. Game 148/14.
#RedSox Game Summary (September 21) Never say die. Until a couple of months ago, if the Red Sox were behind in the late innings, you would figure the game was lost. Not anymore. These guys are now battling back. They are hitting and scoring runs. They have won 22 of the last 34 games. If they played like that all season, they would have won 108 games, and cruised into the playoffs. Of course, they weren’t the same team in the spring. The younger guys have really developed, and the pitching has firmed up. Still, this is an excellent sign for next year. The Rays jumped out to an early lead in the first, when Brandon Guyer homered, and three more hits, including a double by Evan Longoria, yielded 2 more runs. The Sox got one back in the 4th when Travis Shaw doubled and was driven in by Brock Holt. To his credit, after his rough first inning, Boston starter Eduardo Rodriguez really buckled down and kept the Tampa Bay bats fairly quiet though the 6th. He finished having given up 3 runs on 6 hits and 2 walks, while punching out 4 Rays. The Tampa Bay starter, Chris Archer, was also stingy, giving up just the 1 run on 3 hits, while whiffing 3 through 5, but he did also walk 5 Red Sox. In the 7th, the Sox rallied for 3 runs on 3 hits, including a Xander Bogaerts double, a RBI fielder’s choice, and a sac fly. In the top of the 8th, bullpen problems arose, as they have all season. After Tommy Layne gave up a single and got an out, along came Alexi Ogando. Uh-oh. After giving up a single and a walk to load the bases, Ogando gave up a 2 run double to Grady Sizemore, and the lead was back with the Rays. After an intentional walk to load the bases again, Jean Machi came in to end the inning, though one of the outs was a sac fly that made the score 6-4, Tampa Bay. Normally, we would think this is the end. But not these Red Sox. After Jackie Bradley, Jr. got with a pitch, the Sox singled twice to load the bases for that sluggin’ shortstop, Bogaerts, and it was GRAND SALAMI TIME! The Rays got one back in the 9th on a solo blast by Richie Shaffer, but that was all they would get. Boston beat Tampa Bay, 8-7, at Fenway Park, and FINALLY GOT OUT OF LAST PLACE! Record: 72-77. Game 149/13.
#RedSox Game Summary (September 22) One inning over the line. Henry Owens was fairly effective through 7 innings, but keeping him in for the eighth might have been too much. He did get one out, but besides that, it all went bad. The Sox started the scoring early, with 2 in the first on 2 hits (including a Mookie Betts double) and 2 walks, but that was all they would get. Tampa Bay picked up one in the 5th when Logan Forsythe doubled and subsequently scored on a Steven Souza, Jr. sac fly. In the 6th, Owens walked one batter, hit another, and gave up a single to load the bases for Evan Longoria, who hit a sac fly to score a run. A second run came in due to a rare errant throw by Mookie Betts. In the eighth, Owens gave up 3 consecutive hits, including a double to Brendon Guyer and a 2 run dinger to Mike Mahtook. Meanwhile, after the first inning, the Rays pitching staff, Matt Moore (who got the win) was effective in keeping the Red Sox bats fairly quiet. Tampa Bay beat Boston, 5-2, at Fenway Park. Record: 72-78. Game 150/12. So, back in last, by half a game.
#RedSox Game Summary (September 23) This is just subpar. The Red Sox virtually eliminated any possibility of finishing above .500 with their loss to the Tampa Bay Rays today. Rick Porcello had his usual outing, giving up 3 runs on 11 hits, including a double by Asdrubal Cabrera, with 1 walk, while whiffing 8 Rays. Should have been good enough to do something with, but despite collecting 7 runs, including a Travis Shaw double, the Sox could only manage 2 runs. To make matters worse, the bullpen gave up another 3 runs on 3 hits, including homers by Cabrera and Steven Souza, Jr., and a double by John Jaso. We can still hope for a finish above last. Tampa Bay beat Boston, 6-2, at Fenway Park. Record: 72-79. Game 151/11.
#RedSox Game Summary (September 24) Accepting the inevitable. The Red Sox will finish last. This loss pretty much seals it, because now, excepting some amazing winning streak, there is no way they can overtake the Tampa Bay Rays for 4th place in the AL East. The game started out well, with a David Ortiz 2 run blast in the first inning. Little did we know that those were the only Red Sox runs we’d see. Boston starter Wade Miley looked solid against Tampa Bay until the 6th, when he unraveled a bit, giving up 3 runs, including an Evan Longoria solo homer, and doubles by Asdrubal Cabrera and Steven Souza, Jr. In the 7th, he gave up a 4th on a solo 4-bagger by Kevin Kiermaier. Erasmo Ramirez and his relievers frustrated Sox hitters, surrendering just 5 hits overall, including Big Papi’s big fly, and no more runs after the first. Tampa Bay beat Boston, 4-2, at Fenway Park. Record: 72-80. Game 152/10.
#RedSox Game Summary (September 25) Triple double. David Ortiz hit 3 doubles to spur a massive scoring assault on the Baltimore Orioles, and in the process, reached 19th on the all time doubles list, surpassing Wade Boggs and Albert Pujols. Xander Bogaerts and Brock Holt also doubled, to lead a 9 hit, 7 run assault on the Birds. Boston starter Rich Hill was superb, giving up 2 hits and walking 1 while striking out 10 Orioles en route to a complete game shutout. I wish it were already 2016. Boston beat Baltimore, 7-0, at Fenway Park. Record: 73-80. Game 153/9.
#RedSox Game Summary (September 26) A collective win. Although Heath Hembree got the win, this was a collective pitching staff success. Craig Breslow, who normally comes out of the bullpen, started the game and pitched 4 shutout innings, giving up just 2 hits while walking 2 and striking out 2. Matt Barnes, Alexi Ogando, Tommy Layne, Noe Ramirez, and Jonathan Aro all contributed to this shutout of the Baltimore Orioles. The Sox got 8 runs on 8 hits, including doubles by Josh Rutledge, Rusney Castillo, and two by Mookie Betts. The Sox hitters were aided by some sloppy play by the O’s, including mental mistakes in the outfield, a wild pitch, and 3 errors, all of which hurt the Baltimores. Watching these guys makes me look forward with great anticipation to spring training in 2016. Boston beat Baltimore, 8-0, at Fenway Park. Record: 74-80. Game 154/8.
#RedSox Game Summary (September 27) Total disarmament. The Red Sox shut out Baltimore for the third consecutive game, thanks to the strong start of Henry Owens. The Sox scored on a wild pitch by Ubaldo Jimenez when Brock Holt, who had walked and reached third on a single, dashed home to take advantage of the Jimenez blunder. The second Boston score came on a solo home run by Blake Swihart in the third. Once again, the Boston bullpen came through to sustain the Owens shutout. Of note is that, in the 7th, inning, a video tribute to Don Orsillo played on the Fenway screen, since this would be his last home game. The fans gave him an emotional farewell. Given that the sports media, including MLB.TV and ESPN, have been baffled in explaining why NESN chose to drop Don for next season, one must wonder: WTF. Boston beat Baltimore, 2-0, at Fenway Park. Record: 75-80. game 155/7.
#RedSox Game Summary (September 28) Stay of execution. By defeating the New York Yankees, the Red Sox avoided elimination for another day. It was another excellent start for Eduardo Rodriguez, giving up 1 run on 9 hits over 7 innings, including doubles by our old friend, Jacoby Ellsbury, and John Ryan Murphy, plus 1 walk, while striking out 5 Yankees. The sole New York run came when Ellsbury, who had doubled and advanced on a sacrifice bunt, scored on a sac fly, in the first inning. The Sox scored 5 runs on 10 hits, including a 2 run dinger by Travis Shaw and another by Jackie Bradley, Jr., plus a solo blast by Deven Marrero. Mookie Betts also doubled. Let’s all pray for the Sox to win two more; it would suck for them to be eliminated at Yankee Stadium, and even more to hand the Bronx Bombers a wild card slot with a loss. Boston beat New York, 5-1, at Yankee Stadium. Record: 76-80. Game 156/6.
#RedSox Game Summary (September 29) Playing for pride. Although the Sox, with their victory yesterday, avoided eliminating themselves, they were eliminated later in the evening anyway by a Houston Astros victory. Nonetheless, they came back today to show that they would not roll over for their arch-rivals. Rick Porcello had a rough start, not unusual for him, giving up 4 runs on 4 hits in the first inning against the Yankees, including doubles by Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran, and a 2 run blast by Dustin Ackley. But then he settled down and pitched 7 scoreless innings. Meanwhile, the Sox hitters decided to do some bombing of their own in the Bronx. They roughed up Yankee starter Michael Pineda but good, scoring 6 runs in the first inning on 5 hits including doubles by Mookie Betts, David Ortiz, and Brock Holt, and a 3 run dinger by Blake Swihart. The Sox added 4 more over the course of the game, to finish with 10 runs on 11 hits. Jackie Bradley, Jr added a double, and Betts homered. Swihart added a second home run for 2 more in the 8th, and JBJ’s double drove in the 10th run, to put icing on the cake, in the 9th. Boston beat New York, 10-4, at Yankee Stadium. Record: 77-80. Game 157/5.
#RedSox Game Summary (September 30) Not on my watch. The Yankees are pretty much certain to win a wild card spot, but even so, by losing to the Red Sox tonight, it is not completely certain that they will have the home field for the wild card game. Despite the fact that they are eliminated from post season play, the Red Sox competed relentlessly, and ensured that this series with the Yanks would go their way. They scored 3 in the first on a Travis Shaw dinger and another in the 3rd when Dustin Pedroia hit a ground-rule double and David Ortiz drove him in. They picked up another in the 7th on a solo blast by Mookie Betts. And, they did not lose their cool despite Wade Miley’s now patented erratic performance, in which he gave up 3 in the 5th on 2 hits (including doubles by Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran) and a walk, and 1 in the 6th on a solo homer by Alex Rodriguez. So, they went into extra innings tied, 5-5. In the 11th, they scored 4 runs when 3 successive hits scored one run, a sacrifice bunt by Jackie Bradley, Jr. scored another, and Mookie Betts hit a 2 run blast to put the game beyond doubt. The Yanks may win the home field, but not on Boston’s watch. Boston beat New York, 9-5 in 11 innings, at Yankee Stadium. Record: 78-80. Game: 158/4.
#RedSox Game Summary (October 1) Put this one in your pocket. As the Yankees were popping Budweiser (yup; a story for another day) in their clubhouse for clinching a wild card spot, I recalled how someone once said to me when I suffered a great disappointment, “Just put this one in your pocket, and pull it out for motivation at the opportune moment.” Rich Hill, the rejuvenated ace who has dazzled in the past few starts, gave up just 2 runs over 6 innings on 4 hits, including a homer by Carlos Beltran and a double by Chris Young. But, as the great Pedro Martinez once said, “All I can do is give my team a chance to win. I can’t do anything if they don’t score runs.” CC Sabathia, who never ages, was brilliant again for the Bombers; the Sox scored just 1 run on 3 singles in the 5th. New York had 4 runs on 8 hits, including, in addition to the dinger and double mentioned above, homers by Greg Bird and Rob Refsnyder. New York beat Boston, 4-1, at Yankee Stadium. Record: 78-81. Game 159/3.
#RedSox Game Summary (October 2) Underwater. The Red Sox lost their last chance to finish at .500 by dropping one to the Indians today. Henry Owens had what must be his worst start of the season, giving up 7 runs on 10 hits, including doubles to Carlos Santana, Yan Gomes, and Jerry Sands, plus 4 walks over 4 1/3rd innings. He struck out 4. The Sox got 2 runs on 5 hits; both scores came on a blast by David Ortiz. The Indians picked up an 8th run on a Sands solo dinger in the 7th. Cleveland beat Boston, 8-2, at Progressive Field. Record: 78-82. Game 160/2.
#RedSox Game Summary (October 3) I’ve fallen down, and I can’t get up. The Red Sox are slipping back into the cellar and seem unable to help themselves. Craig Breslow gave up just 2 runs on solo home runs by Carlos Santana and Ryan Raburn, on 5 hits (including a double by Yan Gomes) and no walks, while striking out 2 Indians over 5 1/3rd innings, and the bullpen held off the Cleveland hitters for the rest of theme, but that was, apparently not good enough for a win tonight. Cleveland starter Corey Kluber had a great game, shutting out the Red Sox over 8 innings while giving up just 3 hits and 2 walks while striking out 9. The Sox have one more chance to avoid the cellar, and finish in a possible tie for 4th if they win tomorrow (they will also need a loss by Tampa Bay). Otherwise, it will be last place again. Cleveland beat Boston, 2-0, at Progressive Field. Record: 78-83. Game 161/1.
#RedSox Game Summary (October 4) Farewell to a friend. This was Don Orsillo’s last game as the TV voice of the Boston Red Sox, after 15 years of service on NESN, which chose not to renew his contract, for reasons that no one familiar with Don’s work or with baseball media can fathom. It makes no sense to me, either. He offered an emotional farewell speech at the end of the 8th inning, which he managed to get through without going to pieces, though his long-time color man, Jerry Remy, admitted, “I didn’t make it.” He was honored by an airplane banner over Progressive field in the latter innings of the game, and by the Red Sox, who doffed their caps in his direction at the end of the game. Oh yea, there was also a game. Cleveland starter Danny Salazar was not overpowering, but he and his bullpen were good enough to keep the Sox quiet for the most part. They scored once in the first inning, on back-to-back doubles by Xander Bogaerts and David Ortiz, and that was it. Rick Porcello was decent, but still gave up 3 runs on 10 hits (including doubles by Lonnie Chisenhall, Roberto Perez, and and Michael Martinez) and one walk, while whiffing 7 Indians. The Sox, by losing, solidified their unqualified claim on last place in the AL East. Again. If desired, I will offer some summary remarks on the season, and look at where we go from here, after I take a few days to think it all over. Cleveland beat Boston, 3-1, at Progressive Field. Record: 78-84. Game 162/0. End of season.