#RedSox Game Summary (June 23) King David. Today’s game was preceded by a celebration of David Ortiz on the occasion of the retirement of his number, 34. And, the Sox continued the celebration with a clobbering of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Rick Porcello had a fine outing for 6 innings, with the only run coming after Albert Pujols doubled and scored after Andrelton Simmons singled and Sandy Leon could not handle Andrew Benintendi’s throw home. Because there were two outs and the score came on an error, it was not an earned run for Porcello. But in the 7th, things went very bad very fast for Rick. After a routine out, he gave up a double by Ben Revere, who scored on a triple by Martin Maldonado. Maldonado scored on a double by Cliff Pennington, and that was it for Porcello. On came Heath Hembree, who allowed a double by Kole Calhoun to score Pennington, for a 3 run inning. But fortunately, the Sox were pretty savage with the bat today, starting in the first inning, when after back-to-back walks allowed by Angels starter Alex Meyer, Xander Bogaerts drove in one with a double, and two more scored on successive wild pitches. In the 4th, Benintendi doubled and scored on a Hanley Ramirez 2 run dinger into the right field stands. In the 6th, after a walk, Sandy Leon contributed a 2 run jack of his own. In the 8th, just to make sure Craig Kimbrel got some rest, Sandy Leone hit a two run double after Mitch Moreland singled (to break his hitless streak), as did Jackie Bradley, Jr. LAA’s Yunel Escobar also doubled in the game. One annoying moment came in the 5th when Mitch Moreland hit a ground ball to 2nd, and as Xander Bogaerts slid into 2nd, he took out 2nd baseman Cliff Pennington, which prevented his throw to first. Both the X-Man and Moreland were called out under the slide interference rule, but that rule applies only when the slide is not “bona fide”, meaning he was not aiming for the bag. Well, not only was he aiming for it, he slid right into it. This application of the rule seems not only wrong, but leads to a view that a runner is not entitled to attempt to reach the base to which he is running, which is clearly wrong. I hope this will get additional MLB review. Boston beat Los Angeles at Anaheim, 9-4, at Fenway Park. Record: 41-32. Game 73/89.
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#RedSox Game Summary (June 21) Uncontrolled relief. And no, not in a good way. The Sox were enjoying a 4-2 lead through 7 innings thanks to the solid work of Drew Pomeranz over 6 1/3rd, and Joe Kelly for the last 2 outs of the 7th. Then came the 8th, and two guys who seemingly forgot how to pitch. Kansas City scored first, when Eric Hosmer doubled in the 2nd and scored on a double play. They got another run in the 3rd when Alcides Escobar doubled, moved to 3rd on a fielder’s choice, and scored on a sac fly. The Sox came right back in the 4th, when Andrew Benintendi and Xander Bogaerts launched back-to-back jacks off Royals starter Ian Kennedy. They scored again in the 5th, with a little help from KC. It started with a Christian Vazquez single, When Deven Marrero attempted to bunt him over to 2nd, Kennedy launched the ball wildly. It ricocheted off Red Sox first base coach Ruben Amaro, and Vazquez scrambled to 3rd. He scored on a Mookie Betts sac fly. After Kennedy intentionally walked the X-Man, which loaded the bases, on came Mike Minor in relief. He threw over to 1st, but Cheslor Cuthbert missed the catch, and Marrero scored. 4-2. Feeling good. The Sox cruised until the 8th. Matt Barnes came on, and immediately walked the first two batters. He threw two strikes. The balls weren’t even close. So, out he went and in came Robby Scott, who picked up right where Barnes left off, and walked Eric Hosmer on four pitches to load the bases for Salvador Perez. Well, you know what’s coming. Scott finally found the plate, and Perez found the ball, and sent it to the upper deck in left center. It was his first major league grand slam. Betts and Jackie Bradley, Jr. also doubled in the game. Kansas City beat Boston, 6-4, at Kauffman Stadium. Record: 40-32. Game 72/90.
#RedSox Game Summary (June 20) Right where they belong. The Yankees lost tonight, and the Red Sox won, to take over first place in the AL East. It’s by just a half game, but that still counts. Chris Sale cruised through most of the game, his main blemish being a solo homer by the Royals’ Mike Moustakas in the 2nd inning. After 8 innings, he had given up 1 run on 1 hit with no walks and 9 strikeouts. He g ot another strikeout in the 9th, but after a rare walk, gave up a 2 run dinger to center by Jorge Bonifacio, and then a single to our old friend Brandon Moss earned him an exit from the game with 1 out and 1 on. Fernando Abad finished things by inducing a double play. For the Red Sox, Deven Marrero doubled in the 3rd off Kansas City starter Matt Strahm, and scored on a Mookie Betts single. THe big inning was the 4th, when a succession of 4 hits, including doubles by Sam Travis and Sandy Leon added 3 Boston runs, and a 4th came when Leon scored on a sac fly by Marrero. The Sox put icing on the cake in the 6th, when Chris Young doubled with 2 on to drive in one run, and Xander Bogaerts hit a 2 RBI single.The train is leaving the station, Sox fans; time to get on board. Boston beat Kansas City, 8-3, at Kauffman Stadium. Record: 40-31. Game 71/91.
#RedSox Game Summary (June 17) Lost opportunity. The Yankees lost today, and so the Sox had a chance to pull even with New York in the AL East had they won. Unfortunately, they struggled to comprehend the high delivery motion of Houston starter David Paulino, and could do very little with him. Only Chris Young managed to make solid contact, with a solo home run in the 5th. Meanwhile, Boston starter Rick Porcello was no mystery to the Astros, as he had another deeply disappointing start, giving up 7 runs on 10 hits and a walk, while whiffing just 3. The Astros got right to work in the first inning, as George Springer doubled and scored a José Altuve double. After a walk, two more runs came across on a pair of sac flies. In the 3rd, Altuve homered, and Carlos Beltrán smacked a 2 run dinger to right. In the 6th, Yuli Gurriel doubled and after a single, scored on a double play. Let’s face it, Sox fans, Rick Porcello is not the out machine he was last year, and may need an intervention. Houston beat Boston, 7-1, at Minute Maid Park. Record: 38-30. Game 68/94.
#RedSox Game Summary (June 16) Safe Betts. Mookie Betts accounted for both runs as the Red Sox topped the club with the best record in the American League: the Houston Astros. Drew Pomeranz had a stellar start, going 6 1/3rd innings for Boston. 6 of those innings where shutouts, with 3 hits, 3 walks, and 4 whiffs. Unfortunately, the fourth hit off Pomeranz, in the 7th, was a solo home run by Yuil Gurriel. He was done after that, and Joe Kelly came on. Astros starter Mike Fiers was also very good, going 7 innings, and giving up 1 run on 5 hits with 2 walks and 4 Ks. The single run came in the 3rd inning, when Mookie Betts walked and scored after a pair of singles. Jackie Bradley, Jr. tripled off Fiers, but did not score. In the 8th, Betts hit a solo bomb off Houston reliever Will Harris to put the Sox on top. Matt Barnes and Craig Kimbrel finished off the Astros. José Altuve did double off Barnes, but did not score. This was a solid win, with excellent fielding as well as timely hitting. Boston beat Houston, 2-1, at Minute Maid Park. Record: 38-29. Game 67/95.
#RedSox Game Summary (June 15) Baffled. Red Sox hitters just could not figure out Philly starter Nick Pivetta, who finished with 7 shutout innings, allowing 4 hits and 2 walks with 9 strikeouts. The only Boston batter to get an extra base hit was starter Chris Sale, who doubled in the 8th off crooked arm delivery wizard Pat Neshek. Sale’s hit was a fly ball to left that our old friend Daniel Nava could not quite reach. He advanced to 3rd on a fly ball, but was stranded there. Chris had an excellent game, giving up just 1 run over 8 innings on 4 hits (including doubles by Maikel Franco and pinch hitter Ty Kelly) and one walk, while punching out 10. Kelly’s double drove in the winning run in the 8th. This was another game of excellent plays in the field, great pitching, and little scoring. This time, the outcome was frustrating for Red Sox fans. Philadelphia beat Boston, 1-0 in interleague play, at Citizens’ Bank Field. Record: 37-29. Game 66/96.
#RedSox Game Summary (June 14) Place your bets on Mookie. This was a fabulous game for Mookie Betts, and cements his position as a key contributor to this year’s Boston Red Sox. Mookie went 4-for-5, including a single, a double, and two home runs. Red Sox starter Brian Johnson was looking good for the first 2 innings, but in the 3rd, something happened; maybe he pulled something in his shoulder. It’s not quite clear. For whatever the reason, Philadelphia’s Freddy Galvis doubled and scored on a Howie Kendrick single. Then, Aaron Altherrr hit a 2 run homer and Tommy Joseph doubled, at which point Johnson’s day was done. He left the game on an injury, and Hector Velazquez took over; and I must say, he comported himself well, and Joe Kelly, Matt Barnes, and Robby Scott after him. Boston got off to an early lead with a pair of singles, followed by a Xander Bogaerts double for one run, and an Andrew Benintendi sac fly for another. In the 2nd, after a single and a walk off Philly starter Jeremy Hellickson, Mookie Betts doubled in one run, then a single by the X-Man scored two more. In the 4th, Mookie Betts homered to increase the lead to 6-3. Not content to let that stand, Mookie homered again, in the 9th, to put the game out of reach, 7-3. This game was another that was highlighted by sparkling defensive plays on both sides, too numerous to mention. Suffice it to say that Pablo Sandoval acquitted himself well at 3rd. Sandy Leon and Jackie Bradley, Jr. also doubled in the game. Boston beat Philadelphia 7-3, in interleague play at Citizens’ Bank Field. Record: 37-28. Game 65/97.
#RedSox Game Summary (June 13) Worth the wait. This was a long, long game, going 12 innings. It was also extremely well played, with some fantastic plays in the field, including a near miraculous Mookie Betts catch as he crashed into the stands, and a double play started by a flip from Dustin Pedroia as he slipped on the rain-soaked infield dirt. David Price got the start, and had a decent game… not quite his dominating self, but looking pretty good. Price went 6 innings, giving up 3 runs on 4 hits and 4 walks. He whiffed 6. Those runs came on a 2 run homer by Aaron Altherr in the 3rd, and in the 6th, which saw a ground-rule double by Tommy Joseph, who scored later on a fielder’s choice. The Sox got single runs in the first, second, and third innings. In the first, they loaded the bases on a single, a double by Xander Bogaerts off Philadelphia starter Ben Lively, and a HBP. Then, with the bases loaded and 1 out, Andrew Benintendi walked to force in a run. Unfortunately, that was all they would get that inning. In the 2nd, Jackie Bradley, Jr. doubled and scored on a Christian Vazquez double. And in the 3rd, Mitch Moreland hit a solo monster smash to center. After the Phillies tied the game, 3-3, in the 6th, a tense battle ensued with hits and great plays, and no runs until the 12th. It was then that Xander Bogaerts walked and Moreland singled, setting up 2 on and 1 out for Benintendi, who hit a base that bounced over the wall in right to score the X-Man and end the game. Maikel Franco also doubled for Philadelphia, and Benintendi doubled for Boston. Boston beat Philadelphia, 4-3 in 12 innings in interleague play, at Fenway Park. Record: 36-28. Game 64/98.