#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.
#RedSox Game Summary (September 23) Swing along with Mitch. What a way to break out of a slump. Mitch Moreland hadn’t had a hit in a week, but made up for it today, with 2 hits, including a 3 run homer in the 6th. The Sox had scored first, in the first, when Xander Bogaerts doubled off Cincinnati starter Robert Stephenson, reached 3rd on a wild pitch, and scored on a sac fly by Brock Holt. The game stood at 1-0 from that point until Moreland’s dinger. The Crimson Hose tacked on one more in the 7th when Reds reliever Amir Garrett walked two in succession, and then gave up a RBI single to Andrew Benintendi. This was an excellent start for Eduardo Rodríguez, who went past 7 innings for just the second time this year (the first was an 8 inning outing on May 21st, which he won, against Oakland). He finished with 7 2/3rds innings pitched, giving up no runs on 3 hits and 2 walks with 6 punch-outs. Carson Smith cleaned up the 8th for him. Perhaps it was fitting, on this Irish Heritage Day at Great American Ballpark that Joe Kelly closed out the game. Boston beat Cincinnati, 5-0 in interleague play, at Great American Ballpark. The magic number is now 5. The Yankees won today, to clinch a playoff berth. Let’s keep them at the wild card level.
#RedSox Game Summary (September 22) Winning by Devers means. The Sox were in trouble after Scooter Gennett’s grand slam off Boston starter Rick Porcello put them in a 4-1 hole in the 1st. Cincinnati starter Sal Romano had given up a single Xander Bogaerts and walked Dustin Pedroia and Andrew Benintendi in the first, loading the bases for Mitch Moreland, whose sac fly scored Bogaerts. But in the bottom of the inning, Porcello struggled, giving up a single to Billy Hamilton, a double to Zack Cozart, and walking Joey Votto, setting up a bases loaded, nobody out situation for Gannett, who took full advantage to give the Reds a daunting lead. Despite his rough start, Porcello remained in the game until the end of the 4th, but left ineligible for the win, despite a 5-4 lead. How did they get that lead? In the 4th, Mookie Betts doubled, Mitch Moreland walked, and Christian Vázquez doubled to score Betts, while Moreland reached 3rd. This was followed by a massive no-doubter by Rafael Devers, to give the Red Sox the lead for good. David Price supplied 2 2/3rds scoreless innings, and Addison Reed and Craig Kimbrel finished things off. Boston beat Cincinnati, 5-4 in interleague play, at Great America Ballpark. Record: 89-64. Game 153/9. The Yankees lost to Toronto, so the Sox lead in the AL East is now 4 games, and the magic number is reduced to 6.
#RedSox Game Summary (September 20) And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air. The Red Sox exploded in Baltimore, and, at the same time, the club’s premier pitcher established another milestone. As if released after a period of restraint, Boston’s batters unleashed a relentless battery upon Baltimore’s starter, our old friend Wade Miley, starting in the 4th inning. In that inning, Andrew Benintendi singled, and scored on a home run by Mookie Betts. Then Hanley Ramírez doubled, setting up a second 2 RBI homer by Deven Marrero. In the 5th, after Miley walked Benny and Mookie Betts in succession, he was relieved for Mike Wright, who gave up a 2 RBI double to Hanley for 2 more Boston runs. In the 8th, after Sam Travis singled and Sandy Leon walked on Orioles reliever Tanner Scott, Dustin Pedroia hit a double for 2 more runs. In the 9th, Mookie Betts tripled off O’s reliever Jimmy Yacabonis, and scored on a Ramírez single. All in all, the Sox went 10-for-37 with 5 extra base hits. Hanley went 3-for-5; a very good sign. Orioles Trey Mancini and Anthony Santander also doubled in the game but did not score. Chris Sale pitched 8 shutout innings while giving up 4 hits and no walks. His 13 strikeouts enabled him to become the 2nd pitcher in Red Sox history to strike out 300 in a single season. The other was Pedro Martínez. The Yankees also won, so Boston has maintained a 3 run lead in the AL East. Boston beat Baltimore, 9-0, at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Record: 88-64. Game 152/10. The magic number for the division is now 8.
#RedSox Game Summary (September 19) The wild one. A long, tense pitchers’ duel ended somewhat fittingly, with a wild pitch by Baltimore’s Brad Brach that allowed Jackie Bradley, Jr. to score the winning run in the 11th inning. Fitting also, because JBJ’s 5th inning grab of a Chris Davis fly prevented a run that could have handed the game to the Orioles. Drew Pomeranz had a great game for Boston, going 6 1/3rd innings while giving up no runs on 5 hits and 2 walks with 5 punch-outs. The Red Sox bullpen came up big in holding the line into extra innings. Oriole starter Kevin Gausman also had a great start, pitching 8 innings, while giving up no runs on just 3 hits and a walk, while whiffing 7. Boston’s Andrew Benintendi doubled for Boston in this game, as did Manny Machado and Austin Hays for Baltimore. The final run came after Brock Holt singled to lead off the 11th, then switched places with JBJ in a fielder’s choice. Jackie reached 2nd and 3rd on walks to Benny and Mookie Betts, and scored on that wild pitch. Rafael Devers struggled at 3rd in this game, and while he was charged for just one (two base error) in the 11th, he had a key miscue earlier as well, but it was not called an error. Still, he has a strong, accurate throw when he is focused, and will be an outstanding infielder in the long run. So, it’s a rookie issue. Boston beat Baltimore, 1-0, in 11 innings at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Record: 87-64. Game 151/11.
#RedSox Game Summary (September 18) A time to take charge. Some teams might just collapse, faced with a 6-1 deficit in the 5th inning. Some might, after overcoming that deficit, feel defeated when 2 more runs put them in the hole, 8-7. But not these Red Sox. Doug Fister faced a challenge he could not overcome tonight. A control pitcher who makes his living on the corners, he was faced with an umpire, Marty Foster, whose tight strike zone made Fister’s key got-to-have strikes into balls. As a result, he walked 5 and surrendered 4 hits in just 2 innings to put the Sox in a 4 run hole by the 3rd inning. Heath Hembree and Fernando Abad gave up a run apiece to make this game seem nearly unwinnable. In the 1st, Tim Beckham singled, reached 2nd on a Manny Machado single, and scored on a fielder’s choice. In the 2nd, after a Chris Davis double, a pair of Fister walks loaded the bases for Austin Hays, whose double scored 2 more runs. Manny Machado’s sac fly plated another. In the 3rd, after a single and 2 walks loaded the bases, Heath Hembree replaced Fister, and gave up a sac fly for Baltimore’s 5th run. The 4th inning saw Tim Beckham double and after moving to 3rd on a Manny Machado line out, score on an single by Adam Jones. But the Sox did not stand idly by. In the 4th, Brock Holt doubled and scored on a Mookie Betts single to make the score 5-1. After Baltimore’s score in the bottom of the 4th, Boston exploded in the 5th with 6 runs powered by 5 singles (by Christian Vázquez, Rafael Devers, Jackie Bradley, Jr., Brock Holt, and Andrew Benintendi) and a Xander Bogaerts walk, followed by a 3 RBI double by Mookie Betts. Boston now led, 7-6, but not for long. In the bottom of the inning, Pedro Alvarez homered off Fernando Abad to tie the score, and after Austin Hays reached on a fielding error by Devers, he scored on a double by Beckham, enabling the Orioles to take the lead. In the 7th, a solo bomb by Bogaerts tied the game at 8, and so we stood into extra innings. Finally, in the 11th, Sandy León was walked by Miguel Castro, who then intentionally walked Bogey, as Blake Swihart came in to pinch run for León. Tzu-Wei Lin walked to load the bases, and Benny Baseball drove in Swihart and Bogaerts. Carson Smith closed out for the save. Vázquez also doubled in the game. A depressing struggle of a game turned into a triumph, because the Sox did not give up. The Yankees beat the Twins, so the Boston lead in the AL East remains at 3. Boston beat Baltimore, 10-8 in 11 innings, at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Record: 86-64. Game 150/12.
#RedSox Game Summary (September 17) At least someone came to work. Baseball is a tough game to play, and there are many factors that go into a successful day, so it’s not like I am denigrating the rest the team when I say this, but it is notable when just one guy supplies just about all the offense in a game. That guy, this time, was Jackie Bradley, Jr., who drove in both Boston runs with a 2 run jack in the 6th inning off Tampa Bay starter Jake Odorizzi. He also singled in the game. The only other Boston batter with a hit was Andrew Benintendi. Brock Holt walked, and scored on JBJ’s big fly, and Dustin Pedroia also walked. That was it. The rest of the box score is goose eggs. Odorizzi is not that awesome a pitcher; his ERA is 4.46. For his part, Boston starter Eduardo Rodríguez had what most would consider a decent “quality” start. He went 5 2/3rds innings, giving up 3 runs (2 earned) on 7 hits and a walk, with 7 punch-outs. The Rays runs came in the 1st, 5th, and 6th. In the 1st, Kevin Kiermaier singled, reached 2nd on a throwing error, and scored on an Evan Longoria single. In the 5th, the Rays loaded the bases on singles by Jesús Sucre, César Puello, and a walk by Peter Bourjos, followed by a RBI single by Evan Longoria. In the 6th, Sucre homered for the winning run. The Sox could muster nothing in response. Fortunately, the Yankees also lost, so the lead remains 3 in the AL East. Tampa Bay beat Boston, 3-2, at Tropicana Field. Record: 85-64. Game 149/13.