#RedSox News: John Farrell is out as manager of the Red Sox for 2018. Dave Dombrowski made the announcement this morning. Some people may take this as punishment for failure to get past the ALDS for the second year, but I don’t see it that way. For one thing, just winning the division is an accomplishment. I think Dombrowski has considered the personality types and talent on this club, and decided to try a different sort of manager. It’s no secret that these players are enormously talented, and seemed to have played below their potential.
So far, the most common names that come up for Farrell’s replacement are Jason Varitek, former Red Sox player Alex Cora, and recently fired Tigers manager Brad Ausmus. Dombrowski hired Ausmus to skipper the Tigers in 2014, and may want to go in that direction again. Jason Varitek is well liked and considered a strong figure, but he has no experiences as a big league manager or coach. Alex Cora is well-regarded, and baseball pundits have been bandying his name around for a while as a potential manager; he is currently the bench coach of the red-hot Houston Astros.
For other names of potential successors, here’s something from the Sporting News: http://www.sportingnews.com/mlb/news/mlb-boston-red-sox-manager-john-farrell-replacement-ausmus-varitek-cora-gardenhire-alomar/3rtpo1sb86241ta2qcsu2zcrb
#RedSox ALDS Game 3 Summary (October 8) A pearl of great Price. This pearl of a game, a must-win for Boston, was made possible in part by a resurgent David Price, who delivered 4 scoreless innings that showed that the juggernaut Houston lineup can be contained. Infused with a surge of confidence, the Sox did something they rarely did during the season: they scored runs in bunches. Boston starter Doug Fister had the kind of beginning that many of us had feared, giving up 3 runs in the 1st inning, and showing no signs of improvement in the 2nd. In the 1st, George Springer and our old friend Josh Reddick hit back-to-back singles and were driven in by Carlos Carrea with a 3 run bomb. In the 2nd, Fister once again allowed the first 2 hitters to reach, and that was it. Manager John Farrell was maintaining a short leash in an elimination situation. Joe Kelly settled things down after that, and pitched the 3rd inning as well. On came Price for a placid 4 innings. Meanwhile, Boston scoring started in the 2nd, when Houston starter Brad Peacock allowed 2 singles and a walk to load the bases for Sandy León, who drove in a run with a single, reloading the bases. Three quick outs later, the inning was over, and Sox fans wondered if this would be it. The next inning, however, brought the smiles and cheers. After the first two Red Sox struck out, Mitch Moreland doubled and scored when Hanley Ramírez singled and reached 2nd on an error by Marwin González. That, somewhat surprisingly, was it for Peacock, who yielded to the legendary Francisco Liriano. But Liriano is not quite the lights-out pitcher he was once; Rafael Devers then homered for 2 more runs to put the Sox on top for good. But with just a 1 run lead, this game was still a nail-biter until the 7th, when Ramírez doubled with the bases loaded to drive in 2 runs, and Devers drove in another with a single. Jackie Bradley Jr.’s 3 run jack then put the game out of reach. Boston beat Houston, 10-3, at Fenway Park. Houston leads the series, 2-1.
#RedSox ALDS Game 2 Summary (October 6) A gusher in Houston. As a new oil strike gushes oil, so the Astros gushed runs against the Boston Red Sox in this game. Drew Pomeranz exited this game in the 3rd inning, after surrendering a 2 run jack to Carlos Correa in the 1st, and three successive hits in the 3rd, including a George Springer solo smash and a RBI double by Alex Bregman. Carson Smith came on and walked the bases loaded, then got our old friend Josh Reddick out on a line drive. David Price mopped up after that, and provided two more shutout innings afterward. In the 7th, with Eduardo Rodríguez on the hill, 2 on and nobody out, a muffed double play ball by Dustin Pedroia (they still got one) followed by Mookie Betts’ mishandling the ball after a fly ball catch resulted in another run, and set up a big inning for the Astros. An intentional walk followed by 2 hits, including a Carlos Correa double added 3 more runs to make the Houston total 8. After the Astros’ 2 run 1st, the Sox got one back in the 2nd when Chris Young doubled off Houston starter Dallas Keuchel, stole 3rd, and scored on a single by Jackie Bradley, Jr. They picked up one more in the 9th off reliever Ken Giles when Christian Vázquez singled, reached 2nd on a wild pitch, and scored on a long single by JBJ. The Sox desperately need a pitcher that can keep the Astros off the scoreboard in the early innings. No luck so far. Houston beat Boston, 8-2, at Minute Maid Park. Houston leads the series, 2-0.
#RedSox Game Summary (September 30) Champagne time. The Boston Red Sox are the American League Eastern Division champions for 2017. They got there with a lot of gritty come from behind wins, and wins in extra innings. In this game, Drew Pomeranz had an excellent start, pitching 6+ innings, giving up 1 Astro run on 3 hits and 2 walks with one strikeout. He gave up no extra base hits in the game. Houston scored 2 runs in the 7th on a series of 4 singles, the first by José Altuve off Porcello, and the others off Carson Smith. Brian McCann hit line drive past the Pesky Pole for an addition run on his solo dinger off Craig Kimbrel, but by then it hardly mattered. David Price also had a strong inning, which was really great to see. Houston starter Lance McCullers, Jr. kept the Sox scoreless until the 4th, when a pair of walks turned into runs on a single by Hanley Ramírez and a double by Rafael Devers. In the 5th, Xander Bogaerts doubled and scored on a single by Andrew Benintendi. Mookie Betts then singled, and both Benny and Mookie advanced on a double steal. They were driven in by Mitch Moreland’s double. After the Astros scored 2 in the top of the 7th, the Red Sox got one back on a blast that cleared the Monster by Mookie. At that point, everyone pretty much knew how this one would turn out. Boston beat Houston, 6-3, at Fenway Park. Record: 93-68. Game 161/1.
#RedSox Game Summary (September 29) Anticipation is making me wait. This was a well-played game on both sides, but in the end, lost chances in the 6th cost Boston this game. Doug Fister started the game for the Red Sox, and was fairly effective until the 3rd, when Houston’s Derek Fisher singled, reached 2nd on a fielder’s choice, and scored on a hit by Alex Bregman. In the 5th, a 2 run homer by Alex Bregman provided the Astros’ 2nd and 3rd runs. Boston came back, scoring a run in the bottom of the 5th on doubles by Mitch Moreland and Rafael Devers off Houston starter Charlie Morton. In the 6th, Rajai Davis singled and Xander Bogaerts doubled, putting Davis at 3rd. He scored a fielder’s choice in which José Altuve’s snag of the grounder prevented a run. After reliever Francisco Liriano intentionally walked Mookie Betts and Mitch Moreland also walked, the Sox had the bases loaded with 2 out, but Hanley Ramírez grounded out to end the inning. Excellent fielding and pitching on both teams prevented further scoring. So, we wait another day. Houston beat Boston, 3-2, at Fenway Park. Record: 92-68. Game 160/2.
#RedSox Game Summary (September 28) On the verge. The New York Yankees lost to Tampa Bay, cutting the Red Sox magic number for winning the AL East to 1. Meanwhile, the Sox were unable to help themselves, floundering in the face of a furious hitting assault by the Houston Astros. Eduardo Rodríguez, who had been quite effective lately, became the latest Boston starter to hand a large, early lead to the opposition. In less than 2 innings, he gave up 6 hits, including a home run to Alex Bregman, and doubles to Martin González and José Altuve, for a total of 5 runs. And the hilarity did not end for the Astros with Eduardo’s departure. Blaine Boyer, who relieved Rodgríguez, did extricate Boston from the 2nd, and although he got in trouble in the 3rd, got out of it. But in the 4th, the Houston fusillade resumed with 4 hits, including a ground-rule double by Carlos Correa that resulted in 3 more runs. After Fernando Abad took the mound, a passed ball by Christian Vázquez allowed another run. In the 6th, Brian McCann added another Houston run with a solo dinger off Austin Maddox, and Carlos Correa hit a 2 run bomb off Matt Barnes in the 7th. For Boston, Mitch Moreland hit a solo blast to right off Astros starter Brad Peacock in the 2nd, and three singles by Vázquez, Jackie Bradley, Jr., and Xander Bogaerts resulted in a 2nd run. That was it for Red Sox scoring. Houston beat Boston, 12-2, at Fenway Park. Record: 92-67. Game 159/3. Magic number: 1. Maybe tomorrow…
#RedSox Game Summary (September 27) Inch by inch. The Yankees are showing no signs of giving ground, so the Red Sox are really going to have to earn the AL East title this year. They took one step closer with a win over the Toronto Blue Jays, to reduce the magic number to 2. Once again, the Sox were in a hole early as starting pitching failed to provide any edge. Rick Porcello gave up 3 runs in the first inning on doubles by Josh Donaldson and Justin Smoak, and a big fly off the bat of Josė Bautista. The Jays scored another run off Porcello in the 3rd on a series of singles, and another in the 4th on a Darwin Barney solo bomb. They tacked on 2 more in the 9th when Ryan Goins doubled off reliever Brandon Workman, and Teoscar Hernandez, who has teed off against Red Sox pitching throughout this series, sent another blast into the Monster seats. Fortunately, this time Boston bats responded. Red Sox scoring started in the bottom of the 1st when Andrew Benintendi singled off Toronto starter Marco Estrada and scored on a double by a newly surging Hanley Ramírez. In the 2nd, Rajai Davis doubled with 1 on and 1 out to set up runners at the corners. One run scored on a fielder’s choice, and Davis scored on a single by Xander Bogaerts, who was driven in by a Dustin Pedrioa single. The big Red Sox inning was the 3rd. Ramírez led off with a solo dinger. Rajai Davis drove in another run, and Xander Bogaerts clobbered a 3 run no-doubter to left. Boston picked up one more in the 7th off a Mitch Moreland solo blast to right. The pitching had better improve now, as the Sox face the hard-hitting Houston Astros to close out the season. Boston beat Toronto, 10-7, at Fenway Park. Record: 92-66. Game 158/4. Magic number: 2.
#RedSox Game Summary (September 26) Decimated. The Red Sox attack has been muted by the loss of three key spark plugs in the lineup; Dustin Pedroia, Eduardo Núñez, and Mookie Betts. They really needed a strong pitching performance from Chris Sale to keep this game within reach. They didn’t get it. Sale gave up 4 home runs, one a 2 run job, over 5 innings for 5 total runs. He did get 8 strikeouts. Toronto’s Josh Donaldson hit 2 solo dingers, one in the 1st and one in the 3rd. Teoscar Hernandez opened the 5th with his own solo shot, after José Bautista doubled, Kendrys Morales hit a 2 run blast. Just to nail down that coffin lid for sure, Hernandez hit a 3 run bomb off Heath Hembree in the 8th after the Blue Jays had already scored one run on a walk and a couple of singles. The Sox, who had scored one run off Blue Jays starter JA Happ in the first on a Chris Young double, went meekly through the game until the 8th, when Sandy León crushed a solo shot over the Monster, Young tripled, Rajai Davis doubled, and Hanley Ramírez singled for a total of 3 more runs. But this hole was too deep to escape. Toronto beat Boston, 9-4, at Fenway Park. The Yankees won, so the magic number remains at 3, and the lead is reduced to 3 games in the AL East. Record: 91-66. Game 157/5.
#RedSox Game Summary (September 25) Pain, but no gain. The Sox failed to gain ground on their bid to clinch the AL East, as they lost to Toronto, and the Yankees won, making the Yanks 4 games out, while the magic number remains at 3. But there was also pain. First, Eduardo Núñez, who doubled and scored in his first at bat, lined out in the 3rd, collapsing to the ground as he knee gave out from under him. He was subsequently removed from the game. He may not return until the postseason. Then, in the 8th inning, Mookie Betts was lifted from the game with left wrist pain. He is day-to-day. All this came in addition to a tough loss, as Boston starter Drew Pomeranz completely lost control of the game. He gave up a solo homer to Josh Donaldson in the 1st, but that was not too worrying. In the 2nd, however, things got bad. He gave up a single, followed by a double play, so… not worried yet, but then after a walk and 2 singles loaded the bases, Teoscar Hernandez doubled to clear the bases for 3 runs. Josh Donaldson immediately followed with another double for 2 more Blue Jay runs. A 5 run inning. When Pomeranz then gave up a single to Toronto’s 3rd inning leadoff man, José Bautista, his day was done. Ryan Goins added a solo dinger off Addison Reed in the 9th to top it all off for Toronto. Boston actually had the lead at one point, when Xander Bogaerts singled off Blue Jay starter Brett Anderson, Núñez doubled, and both were driven in by successive fielder’s choices. The Sox got another in the 5th on a walk and a pair of singles, and in the 8th when Andrew Benintendi homered off Toronto reliever Dominic Leone. Luke Maile also doubled in the game. Toronto beat Boston, 6-4, at Fenway Park. Record: 91-65. Game 156/6.
#RedSox Game Summary (September 24) Mookie madness. The Red Sox seemed flat in this one, struggling to get just one run over 7 innings while the Reds built up a 3 run lead. Then came the 8th inning, and Mookie Betts. Michael Lorenzen was on the mound for the Reds, but after walking Christian Vázquez and giving up a single to Xander Bogaerts, his day was done, and on came the closer, Raisel Iglesias, for a prospective 6 out save, which Cincinnati manager Bryan Price sought to ensure with a double switch (involving left fielder Phillip Ervin). After inducing a ground out from Dustin Pedroia, however, Iglesias walked Andrew Benintendi to load the bases for Mookie Betts. Boom! Three run double. Score tied. But Mookie wasn’t done. When Rafael Devers chopped the ball in the infield and Reds first baseman Joey Votto had to stretch out for the throw, Mookie saw that Votto couldn’t get up and throw in time, so he raced home, just missing the tag, for the winning run. The Red Sox other run came on a Devers solo bomb off Cincinnati starter Jackson Stephens in the 5th. Sandy León also doubled in the game. Doug Fister had a decent start for Boston, giving up 3 runs on 9 hits and no walks over 5 13rd innings, while whiffing 9. The runs came when Scooter Gannett hit a RBI double in the 1st, and Billy Jackson hit a 2 run triple in the 5th. The Reds picked up one other run in the 7th when Billy Hamilton, who had walked, attempted to steal 2nd, inducing a series of fielding blunders that allowed him to score. All that was put in the past by Mookie’s amazing 8th. Craig Kimbrel shut the Reds down in the 9th. Boston beat Cincinnati 5-4 in Interleague play, at Great American Ballpark. Record: 91-64. Game 155/7. The Yankees also lost to Toronto, so the magic number is now 3. I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but I think you can start printing those ALDS tickets now.