#RedSox Game Summary (August 6) The boys are back. And they brought their big bats with them. Ever since the arrival of Rafael Devers and Eduardo Núñez, these Red Sox have been looking like the Bosox of old, swinging the big bats and hitting those homers. Núñez contributed his dinger in the first inning off White Sox starter Mike Pelfry, and Chris Young, who went 3-for-4 in the game, got two: one in the first, and the other, a 3 run job in the 5th; plus he doubled in Andrew Benintendi in the 3rd. Sandy Leon also doubled in the game, and scored on Young’s second bomb. Doug Fister struggled in the second inning on the mound for Boston, giving up 4 hits, including a double to Tyler Saladino, for 3 runs. But he settled down after that, giving up a total of 8 hits and no walks over 6 1/3rd innings, while punching out 7. The bullpen finished things from there, and Craig Kimbrel, with his 27th save an a 1.51 ERA, is entering the rare air for a closer. The Sox are riding the crest of a 6 game winning streak and after a day off, head for St. Petersburg to face the Tampa Bay Rays. Boston beat Chicago, 6-3, at Fenway Park. Record: 63-49. Game 112/50.
#RedSox Game Summary (August 5) Not so scary. James Shields was a terror to Red Sox fans when he was a starter for the Tampa Bay Rays a few years ago, but his fastball has lost about 5-6 MPH, and he is no longer a mystery to Boston’s hitters. Shields, starting for the Chicago White Sox, gave up 4 runs on 5 hits including home runs for Andrew Benintendi and Jackie Bradley, Jr., and doubles by Mitch Moreland and Mookie Betts. Boston starter Drew Pomeranz, meanwhile, looked confident, and even though he got into trouble a few times in his 6 1/3rd innings, he surrendered just one run on a homer by Tim Anderson in the 1st inning. He ended up giving up 7 hits and a walk while whiffing 8. Blaine Boyer provided a solid 1 2/3rd innings, and Craig Kimbrel mopped up from there. Although Kimbrel did hit Chicago’s Leury Garcia with a pitch, he subsequently picked him off, and ended the game with 2 punch-outs. Boston beat Chicago, 4-1, at Fenway Park. Record: 62-49. Game 111/51.
#RedSox Game Summary (August 4) Star of the day. A million years ago, on Channel 4 (WBZ) in Boston, there was a show called Community Auditions, which opened with Dave Maynard singing (badly) “Star of the day, who will it be?” Well, today, it was Mitch Moreland, who ended an 11 inning struggle against the Chicago White Sox with a dramatic 2 out solo jack clear over the Monster. Eduardo Rodríguez started this one, looking for his first win since coming off the DL. Well, he didn’t get the win, but he did supply 6 solid innings, giving up just 2 runs on 4 hits and 2 walks, while punching out 5. The White Sox struck first, with a double by José and after a walk, a 2 RBI double to Nicky Delmonico. Boston came back in the 5th the with a series of singles by Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts, and Chris Young that resulted in one run, and in the 6th with a solo bomb over the Monster by Eduardo Núñez. What followed was a display of clutch pitching on both sides, as well as some amazing fielding plays, including a key pick-off by Christian Vazquez of Delmonico in the 11th. Moreland’s 11th inning dinger decided the game, but this was a total team effort. Boston beat Chicago, 3-2 in 11 innings, at Fenway Park. Record: 61-49. Game 110/52.
#RedSox Game Summary (August 3) Batters up. Rick Porcello had a rough game as Red Sox starter today, giving up 5 runs over 5 1/3rd innings, on 7 hits and 2 walks, with just 6 Ks. But Boston hitters bailed him out, big time. Boston scored 7 runs over the first 2 innings, but that was not enough to make a win seem secure. In the 1st, Andrew Benintendi doubled, Eduardo Núñez, singled, Hanley Ramírez doubled, and Rafael Devers homered off White Sox starter Miguel González for 4 runs. In the 2nd, Christian Vazquez singled, and Mookie Betts hit a 2 run “Fenway homer” to left. After Benny got a HBP, he scored on a single by Hanley. But the White Sox kept it close. In the 2nd, Yoan Moncada walked, Nicky Delmonico and Tyler Salandino singled to score Moncada, and Delmonico scored on a fielder’s choice. In the 3rd, Leury Garcia singled, stole 2nd, and scored, along with Moncada, on a 3 run homer by Delmonico. So, after 3 innings, the score was 7-5, and Rick just did not look in control, yet remained in the game. But he held the line after that, and the bullpen held the line from the 6th inning to the end. Meanwhile, Mitch Moreland doubled in the 5th and scored on a Benintendi single. In the 6th, Xander Bogaerts singled and scored on Moreland double, so really, the game was never in any serious doubt. Boston beat Chicago, 9-5, at Fenway Park. Record: 60-49. Game 109/53.
#RedSox Game Summary (August 1) Good pitching beats good hitting, and vice-versa (Yogi Berra). This was supposed to be an epic pitchers’ duel between two premier AL pitchers: Boston’s Chris Sale and Cleveland’s Carlos Carrasco, who lasted just 1 2/3rds innings, but it turned into a slugfest. The Indians jumped all over Sale in the first inning, scoring 3 runs on 4 hits, including a double by Carlos Santana. They scored 2 more on a 2 run bomb by Brandon Guyer in the 2nd. Faced with a 5-0 deficit, the Sox bounced right back in the bottom of the 2nd, with a Xander Bogaerts double and a 2 run homer by Mitch Moreland. After a double by Christian Vazquez, a walk and a RBI Brock Holt single, a RBI double by Eduardo Núñez tied the score at 5, ending Carrasco’s day. In the 5th, José Ramírez doubled for the Indians, and Edwin Encarnación crushed a 2 run homer off Sale to untie the score. But the slugging Red Sox weren’t done yet. In the 6th, 3 hits, including a double by Mitch Moreland cut the Cleveland lead to 1, and after a HBP to load the bases, Eduardo Núñez doubled in 3 runs to put the Sox in a seemingly comfortable lead. Normally comfortable, but not in this game. Newly acquired ace reliever Addison Reed surrendered a home run to the first hitter he faced, Carlos Santana, cutting the Sox lead in half. In the 9th, the normally lights-out Craig Kimbrel gave up another homer to tie the game, and then with 2 out, gave up 2 singles and a walk to load the bases. Then, stunningly, he threw a wild pitch to hand the lead back to Cleveland, 10-9. But the apparent curse on pitchers in this game also applied to Indians closer Cody Allen. He gave up a Baltimore chop single to Rafael Devers, and later, with 1 on and 2 out, threw a wild pitch that allowed Mitch Moreland to reach on strike three. This set the stage for Vazquez, with 2 on and 2 out, and he did not disappoint. Boom! Of course, a no-doubter to straightaway center field earned him a walk-off shower. Boston beat Cleveland, 12-10. Record: 59-49. Game 108/54. Back in first.
#RedSox Game Summary (July 31) Everything works. It was clear today that this Red Sox team is capable of beating anyone, and doing so decisively. Now, the question is: how can we see this on a regular basis? Doug Fister had a fine game today, pitching seven shutout innings before breaking down in the 8th. Meanwhile Rafael Devers and newly acquired infielder Eduardo Núñez, along with veteran Mookie Betts, provided most of the firepower. In the 2nd inning, after Devers singled off Cleveland starter Mike Clevinger, and Christian Vazquez doubled, Mookie drove in 2 runs with a single, and Núñez drove him in with a double. In the 4th, after Mitch Moreland walked and Vazquez singled, hits by Betts and Núñez drove in 2 more runs. In the 7th, Núñez doubled again and scored on a Devers single to give Boston a 6-0 lead. In the end, Núñez went 3-for-5 with 2 doubles, and Devers went 4-for-4 with one double. Although nearing the magic 100 pitch count marker, Fister came out for the 8th inning and, after giving up a hit to Austin Jackson and getting 2 out, surrendered a 2 run blast to Bradley Zimmer, ending his night. Brandon Workman finished off the Indians. Boston beat Cleveland, 6-2, at Fenway Park. Record: 58-49. Game 107/55.
#RedSox Game Summary (July 30) Barnes burner. Matt Barnes was handed a 3-1 lead in the 8th inning, but he could not hold it. As has been the case lately, the Sox scored early, and the starter (Drew Pomeranz) looked good, but the bullpen bailed. Boston started the scoring with 2 runs in the 2nd off Kansas City starter Jason Hammel on singles by Hanley Ramírez, Xander Bogaerts, Mitch Moreland, and Christian Vazquez. They picked up their 3rd on a 5th inning solo dinger by Rafael Devers; a line drive that just nicked the shelf atop the Green Monster. The Royals got one back in the 4th when Lorenzo Cain singled and scored on an Alcides Escobar double. Things were looking good until the top of the 8th, when Barnes came on. Then, a Bogaerts error allowed Lorenzo Cain to reach, and Eric Hosmer and Salvador Pérez singled to load the bases. Escobar then singled in two runs, and he and Perez moved to 2nd and 3rd on a throwing error by Mookie Betts. With the score now tied, runners on 2nd and 3rd, and nobody out, John Farrell had seen enough, and brought in lefty Robby Scott to face the left-handed hitting Alex Gordon. Sometimes that works out. This time it resulted in a 2 RBI triple. The Sox attempted a comeback in the 9th after Jackie Bradley, Jr. walked, Christian Vazquez singled with 2 out, and they executed a successful double steal off KC closer Kelvin Herrera, who then walked the hot-hitting Rafael Devers. A picture book ending? Nope. Mookie Betts flied out. Kansas City beat Boston, 5-3, at Fenway Park. Record: 57-49. Game 106/56.
#RedSox Game Summary (July 29) Last men standing. This was a messy game from start to finish, with a lead going back and forth; never safe. But in the end, the Red Sox persevered, winning in the 10th. The Sox committed 3 errors in the game, but they also benefitted from one error and 3 wild pitches by the Royals. KC’s Salvador Perez and Boston’s Christian Vazquez each had a passed ball. Eduardo Rodriguez struggled (I refuse to say “scuffled”) in this game, getting in and out of trouble in each of the first 3 innings, then getting into trouble he couldn’t escape in the 4th. Over just 4 innings, he threw 107 pitches. In the 4th, singles by our old friend Brandon Moss, Alex Gordon, and Whit Merrifield led to Kansas City’s first run, and a 3 run jack by Lorenzo Cain gave the Royals a 4-2 lead. His homer just barely cleared the right field fence right at the Pesky pole for the shortest home run on record since Statcast was first used, at 302 feet. That was it for Eduardo. The Sox had gotten an early lead off KC starter Trevor Cahill in the 2nd when Jackie Bradley, Jr. singled, and scored on a Vazquez triple. Then, in the 3rd, newly arrived Eduardo Núñez ingratiated himself to the Fenway faithful with a solo bomb to left. After slipping behind in the 4th, the Sox came back with 2 of their own to tie the game when Mitch Moreland walked and scored on a Vazquez double, and Rafael Devers drove in Vazquez with a single. In the 5th, Núñez homered again; whereas the first dinger was a “Fenway home run” over lip of the Monster (it would have been a fly out in most other parks), the second was a no doubter. After that, Hanley Ramirez and Xander Bogaerts both singled, and Mitch Moreland drove in the 6th Boston run with a single. With a 6-4 lead in the 6th, the game seemed in hand. It wasn’t. Blaine Boyer relieved Fernando Abad in the 6th with 2 on, and gave up RBI singles to Whit Merrifield and Jorge Bonifacio, and a walk to Lorenzo Cain. Out went Boyer, and on came Robby Scott. But a throwing error by Núñez and a sac fly by Salvador Pérez plated 2 more runs for the Royals, and Boston was in an 8-6 hole. The Sox kept chipping away, however, with single runs in the 7th and 8th on singles and sacrifices. Craig Kimbrel shut down the Royals in the 9th, but despite getting 2 on base (one on a wild pitch and one on a walk), the Sox could not score in the bottom of the 9th, so we went to extras. Finally, in the 10th, Sandy León doubled, reached 2nd on a wild pitch by Royals reliever Mike Minor, and scored on a fielder’s choice with a mad serpentine slide around KC catcher Drew Butera’s attempted tag. A win is a win. Boston beat Kansas City, 9-8 in 10 innings, at Fenway Park. Record: 57-48. Game 105/57.
#RedSox Game Summary (July 28) Knocked off the top. Rick Porcello filled in for David Price, who is on the DL with a sore elbow, and he pitched pretty well for the most part, but two major mistakes sunk the Sox. In the 2nd inning, he allowed a solo bomb from Kansas City’s Salvador Pérez to establish an early lead for the Royals. In the 4th, after giving up a pair of singles to Jorge Bonifacio and Eric Hosmer, surrendered a 3 run dinger to Mike Moustakas. The Sox got one run back in the 5th when Rafael Devers doubled off Royals starter Jason Vargas, and scored on a Mookie Betts single. In the 7th, Chris Young tripled off Kansas City reliever Mike Minor, and scored on a fielder’s choice. Brandon Moss also doubled for the Royals, but did not score. Before the game, Dustin Pedroia asserted his leadership status with this club in a collective press interview at his locker. Fine. But now, he needs to show he can set a fire under his teammates, as the Yankees have taken the top spot in the AL East. Boston lost to Kansas City, 4-2, at Fenway Park. Record: 56-48. Game 104/58.
#RedSox Game Summary (July 26) Another day at the office. This is how it is with Chris Sale. Show up, punch the clock, blow away a bunch of guys, take the win, punch out. This time, he threw 7 scoreless innings while giving up just 3 hits and one walk, and punching out 11. Blaine Boyer took over in the 8th, but when he got into trouble with 1 out and 2 on in the 9th, John Farrell looked to closer Craig Kimbrel to finish off the Mariners, which he did. Seattle starter Andrew Moore struggled against the Sox, giving up at least one run in each of 3 innings. In the 2nd, Hanley Ramirez walked, reached 3rd on a Jackie Bradley, Jr. double, and scored on a sac fly by Mitch Moreland. In the 3rd, newly promoted 3rd baseman Rafael Devers got his first major league hit, and it was a doozy! A massive solo shot to center. In the 4th, JBJ got his second double of the game, and scored when Sandy Leon sent a dinger over the right field fence. Mariners Jean Segura and Guillermo Heredia both doubled off Sale in the game, but did not score. This was a critical win for the Sox, who have had a rough road trip, winning just 2 out of 6. Devers looked good today, going 2-for-4, including his big fly, but he may find himself back in Pawtucket when newly acquired 3B Eduardo Nuñez joins the team. We shall see. Boston beat Seattle, 4-0, at Safeco Field. Record: 56-47. Game 103/59.