#RedSox Game Summary (August 19) A momentary loss of focus. That’s all it takes. And when one of the premier pitchers in baseball, who makes his living with his fastball, loses focus for even a moment, bad things can happen. For Chris Sale, that moment came in the 2nd inning, twice; once when he gave up a ground-rule double (that Eck rightly pointed out would have been a “johnson” in Yankee Stadium) to the Yankees’ Didi Gregorius, then hit Todd Frazier and yielded a 3 run bomb to Tyler Austin. He got himself together after that, but it was too late for the Red Sox. The Sox got 2 runs back in the 5th when a walk of Xander Bogaerts by New York starter CC Sabathia was followed by sharply hits singles from Rafael Devers and Jackie Bradley, Jr. But the Yanks scored again in the 6th on another homer off Sale, this one a solo job by Frazier. A solo dinger by Devers off Yankee reliever Adam Warren cut the Yankee lead to 1. The Sox threatened in the 8th, when Andrew Benintendi struck out but reached first on a wild pitch by reliever David Robinson, who subsequently gave up a double to Hanley Ramirez and intentionally walked Mitch Moreland to load the bases with 2 out. But the Sox did not score. Mookie Betts also doubled for Boston, as did Austin for New York. New York beat Boston, 4-3, at Fenway Park. Record: 70-52. Game 122/30.
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#RedSox Game Summary (August 18) A game in three acts. The Bronx Bombers are back, and while I doubt they will get to the ALCS this year, they are well poised for strong runs in coming seasons. They have a fearsome lineup that can be compared to the famed Murderers’ Row of ages past, anchored by Aaron Judge and Gary Sánchez. The power of this team contributed to the drama of game, which can be broken out into 3 acts. Act I: In the first 5 innings, Boston starter Drew Pomeranz and Brandon Workman kept the Yanks off the board (Pomeranz had to leave the game in the 4th inning, suffering from back spasms). Meanwhile, the Sox methodically built up a 3-0 lead on the strength of a 2nd inning double by Xander Bogaerts off Yankee starter Jordan Montgomery, followed by a 2 run bomb by Rafael Devers, followed by a 5th inning solo dinger by Christian Vázquez. Act II: Matt Barnes relieved Workman in the 6th, and immediately got into deep trouble. He gave up a 2 run blast over everything by Todd Frazier, and then 2 quick singles with 2 out ended his night. On came Joe Kelly. Kelly has a 104 MPH fastball, but has not demonstrated good control since he came off the DL about a week back. That issue was immediately on display when he hit Aaron Hicks. He got out of that inning, but in the 7th, Gary Sánchez smacked a solo round-tripper to tie the score at 3. After a single and a walk, Kelly managed to whiff Austin Romine, and his evening was over. Heath Hembree then walked Todd Frazier to load the bases, then promptly unloaded them by giving up a 2 RBI single to Ronald Torreyes. Robby Scott then reloaded the bases by walking Brett Gardner, and hit Aaron Hicks to force in another run. Yankees lead, 6-3. Act III: New York reliever Chad Green gave up 2 singles and a walk to load the bases in the 7th. Mookie Betts’s sac fly then cut the lead to 2. Andrew Benintendi then drove in a run. Hanley Ramirez then walked to load the bases for Mitch Moreland, who was pinch hitting (he had been platooned out due to the lefty starter). Mitch hit a 2 RBI single to give the Sox the lead back. Then, just for good measure, in the 8th Jackie Bradley, Jr. hit a 2 RBI single to ice the game for Boston. Craig Kimbrel did the rest. Boston beat New York, 9-6, at Fenway Park. Record: 70-51. Game 121/41.
#RedSox Game Summary (August 13) The rivalry is back. C’mon. Admit it. You miss those white knuckle moments: Red Sox vs. Yankees, everything on the line. We’re not quite there yet, but close. New York has a fine team, and once those guys get a little more experience, they are going to be very scary. Even in this game, the Sox had all they could handle. Boston ace and dead-lock for the Cy Young Award Chris Sale was fantastic in this game, going 7 innings and giving up 1 run on 4 hits and 2 walks, with 12 strikeouts. That one run came in the 5th inning, when Mookie Betts, uncharacteristically, muffed a fly ball near the right field fence. It was called a hit, but really, he should have had it. It ended up as a triple, which allowed Chase Headley, who singled, to score. Boston scored off Yankee starter Jordan Montgomery (who also had a fine game) in the top of the 5th when Brock Holt walked, reached 2nd on a wild pitch, and scored on a single by Jackie Bradley, Jr. After Sales was done, Matt Barnes came on in the 8th, and after getting the first man out, allowed a hit and 2 walks to load the bases for Todd Frazier, whose sac fly untied the game, 2-1. In the 9th, it looked like Aroldis Chapman, whose pitchers were AVERAGING over 100 MPH, was going to dispatch the Sox fairly quickly, but no one told that to rookie Rafael Devers, whose solo bomb to left center tied the score. In the bottom of the 9th, Addison Reed walked the leadoff man, but after a sacrifice bunt moved him to 2nd, Reed got a ground out off our old friend Jacoby Ellsbury, and Craig Kimbrel came on to whiff Brett Gardner. In the 10th, Chapman, still on, and now (technically) hitting since his DH (Gary Sánchez) assumed a fielding position (catcher) hit JBJ, walked Eduardo Núñez, and walked Betts to load the bases for Andrew Benintendi who, of course, singled in what would prove to be the winning run. In the bottom of the 10th, Kimbrel dispatched the Yanks in order to pick up the win. Boston beat New York, 3-2 in 10 innings, at Yankee Stadium. Record: 67-50. Game 117/45.
#RedSox Game Summary (August 12) O rare Ben’s johnsons! (Apologies to English lit majors everywhere) Andrew “Benny” Benintendi accomplished an unusual feat in today’s game, hitting 3 run homers (which Dennis Eckersley likes to call “johnsons”) in two consecutive at-bats, powering the Red Sox to a big win over the Yankees. Sox starter Drew Pomeranz struggled in the first inning against New York, giving up a 2 run jack to Gary Sanchez (it was one of those weak fly balls that just barely made it past the corner of the short porch in right field) to put the Sox in an early hole. He settled down after that, with just one other truly rough patch coming in the 4th, when he gave up 2 singles and a walk to load the bases, allowing one run to score on a fielder’s choice. Pomeranz finished with 3 runs on his record off 7 hits and 2 walks with 5 Ks over 6 2/3rds innings. For the Sox, the fun started in the 3rd when, after Yankee starter Luis Severino walked two with one out, Eduardo Núñez reached base on a throwing error by Todd Frazier to load them up for Mookie Betts, whose line drive to left plated 2 runs. Then came Benny’s first blast, to make it a 5 run inning. In the 5th, after a single by Núñez and double by Betts, Benny did it again. But the Sox weren’t done scoring yet. Mitch Moreland doubled, and an error by Didi Gregorius made it 1st and 3rd for Rafael Devers, who doubled in 2 more. In the 9th, Boston reliever Robby Scott decided to make things a little more interesting by serving up solo home run balls to Chase Headley and Jacoby Ellsbury in succession. But as Craig Kimbrel began warming in the ‘pen, he settled down and got 3 outs in succession to end the game. Boston beat New York, 10-5, at Yankee Stadium. Record: 66-50. Game 116/46.
#RedSox Game Summary (August 11) The running of the bulls. The Boston bullpen has been very reliable in shutting down opponents once the Red Sox have a lead. Not this time. The Sox jumped out to an early lead when Hanley Ramirez hit a 2 run jack off Yankee starter Jaime García, and Andrew Benintendi followed with a solo dinger in the 5th. Boston starter Eduardo Rodríguez was excellent, giving up 2 hits and 2 walks, with 7 whiffs over 6 shutout innings, and despite a lead-off walk, Matt Barnes blanked the New Yorkers in the 7th. But then… trouble. After hitting Brett Gardner with a pitch, Boston reliever Addison Reed seemed to have lost his nerve, and after working Aaron Hicks to a full count, threw a weak-ass slider that resulted in a 2 run bomb. Then, after giving up a single to Gary Sanchez, he walked Aaron Judge, to end his night. On came Joe Kelly. Salvation, right? Not so fast. Kelly gave up 2 consecutive singles to Didi Gregorius and Todd Frazier, tying the game and leaving the bases still loaded with nobody out. A sac fly scored Gregorius with the go-ahead run, and another sac fly produced an insurance run. New York 5, Boston 3. In the 9th, Aroldis Chapman walked Jackie Bradley, Jr., Eduardo Núñez, and Mookie Betts, in a row, to load the bases with nobody out. A golden opportunity. Only when Andrew Benintendi flied out to left and JBJ scored on the sacrifice, for some inconceivable reason, Núñez attempted to reach 3rd (on a play from left? Really?), and was cut down. Mitch Moreland then flied out, to end the game. New York beat Boston, 5-4, at Yankee Stadium. Record: 65-50. Game 115/47.
#RedSox Game Summary (July 16, game 2) The tough get going. Vince Lombardi’s famous quote (Google it) is most applicable in reviewing this game. Mookie Betts, Dustin Pedroia, and Jackie Bradley, Jr. really showed their mettle in this one. JBJ’s jaw-dropping contribution was a home run stealing grab of Aaron Judge’s fly in the 8th as it was sailing over the angled pipe in the center field triangle. Only a perfectly timed jump and catch would to the job, and JBJ did it. Yankee starter Masahiro Tanaka was sharp as usual, but did surrender a single to Christian Vazquez in the 3rd inning, and Vazquez scored on a 2 run bomb by Mookie Betts that sailed over the Monster to Lansdowne Street. In the 6th, more clutch hitting came when Mookie singled and scored on a hit by Pedroia. David Price had an exceptional game, pitching 8 scoreless innings, giving up 7 hits and no walks with 8 Ks. The one extra-base hit he surrendered was a double by Garrett Cooper in the 5th. Craig Kimbrel did give up a double to Didi Gregorius, and walk in the 9th, but kept the Yanks from scoring. Boston beat New York, 3-0, at Fenway Park. Record: 52-41. Game 93/69.
#RedSox Game Summary (July 16) Lumber liquidators. Yankee pitching has rendered Red Sox bats fairly useless over the last two games, causing Boston to go 22 innings without scoring a run. This time, it was the veteran CC Sabathia who stifled the Sox, going 6 innings and giving up just 2 hits and 5 walks while punching out 3. The bullpen took over from there to finish the shutout. Rick Porcello had a decent start for Boston, giving up 2 unearned runs in the 4th, and an earned run in the 5th. In the 4th, after whiffing Matt Holliday, he allowed a single by Didi Gregorius. An error by Xander Bogaerts allowed Clint Frazier to reach, moving Gregorius to 2nd, and a single by Austin Romine loaded the bases. Gregorius scored on a sac fly that would have been the third out were it not for the error, and Ronald Torreyes drove in Frazier. In the 5th, Gegorius smacked a solo dinger to right for New York’s third run of the game. Perhaps the Sox were simply tired, but the Yanks played as many innings yesterday as they did, so that’s no excuse. Time to get fired up. New York beat Boston, 3-0, at Fenway Park. Record: 51-41. Game 92/70.
#RedSox Game Summary (July 15) Prize fight. This game consumed everything both the Yankees and Red Sox had to offer, and in the end, the Bombers ended up on top. Chris Sale pitched a masterpiece, going 7 2/3rds scoreless innings while giving up just 3 hits and 2 walks, and striking out 13. For his efforts, he got a no-decision, as did his initial opponent, Yankee starter Luis Severino, who went 7 innings and gave up the only Boston run. It came in the 3rd inning, when he walked Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia, then loaded the bases with an infield single to Xander Bogaerts. Mitch Moreland drove in Betts with a sac fly. As the game wore on, it looked like the Sox were going to eke out a 1-0 victory, especially after, with 118 pitches under his belt and 2 out in the 8th, Chris Sale came out in favor of the estimable Craig Kimbrel. But Kimbrel surrendered a solo home run to Matt Holliday in the top of the 9th, and we knew we would have to settle in for an epic battle. There was controversy in the 11th, when Holliday walked, and then when Mitch Moreland fielded a high chopper off the bat of Jacoby Ellsbury, threw to 2nd to force out Holliday, and the X-Man, who took the throw, lasered it back to 1st. But Holliday, apparently thinking Moreland had touched 1st, or else that he caught the ball on the fly, turned and ran back to 1st, blocking out Moreland as he went to field Xander’s throw, which allowed Ellsbury to reach safely. John Farrell argued that this was runner interference, so the umpires checked the rules with New York, and ruled against the Sox. This was a blunder, in my view. Holliday was forced out, and his presence on the field was illegal. Arguably, the throw could have gotten Ellsbury. It should have been a double play be reason of runner interference. Farrell played the rest of the game under protest, though this probably won’t result in anything. As the game wore on, both teams had their chances, but could not score, and exhausted their bullpens in the process. Finally, Farrell resorted to using Doug Fister, even though he is scheduled to start on Tuesday. Clearly weary in his 3rd inning of work, Fister allowed a double to Ellsbury in the 16th, followed by a pair of singles to give the Yanks the go-ahead run. Austin Romine hit another single to drive in the 3rd New York run, and after a sac bunt and intentional walk to load the bases, a sac fly by Gary Sánchez provided the final Yankee score. The Sox went quietly in the bottom of the 16th, ending this 5 hour and 50 minute marathon. New York beat Boston, 4-1 in 16 innings, at Fenway Park. Record: 51-40. Game 91/71.
#RedSox Game Summary (July 14) Walk off walk. This was a tight game, and with Aroldis Chapman coming on in the 9th for New York, and a 1 run deficit, it looked bad for the Olde Towne Team, but patience and a key error made the difference. This was a solid start for Drew Pomeranz until the 5th. The Sox were leading 3-1 at that point, but a leadoff double by Chase Headley, followed by a Brett Gardner single and 3 run bomb by Gary Sanchez put the Sox in a 4-3 hole. The other Yankee run came in the 3rd, when Headley singled and scored after 2 more singles by Ronald Torreyes and Sanchez. Boston’s runs came in the 3rd, when Hanley Ramirez hit a 2 run blast to center, and in the 4th, when Boston loaded the bases off Yankees starter Jordan Montgomery on a walk, a Christian Vázquez single, and and error by 2nd baseman Ronald Torreyes, setting up an RBI single by Dustin Pedroia for the 3rd Red Sox run. The Sox were trailing in the bottom of the 9th when Chapman allowed an infield single to Mookie Betts and another to Pedroia. Xander Bogaerts reached on a second error by Torreyes, allowing Mookie to tie the game. Then, Chapman intentionally walked Hanley Ramirez to load the bases for Andrew Benintendi. But Chapman could not find a way to get Benny out, and walked in the winning run. By the way, the Sox designated Pablo Sandoval for assignment today. Just as well. Boston beat New York, 5-4, at Fenway Park. Record: 51-39. Game 90/72.
#RedSox Game Summary (June 8) Price ain’t right. And it’s not just Price; the whole pitching staff seems to be in the doldrums, and that seems to have affected the hitters as well. The Red Sox just barely managed to eke out one run to avoid the shutout when, in the 4th inning, Xander Bogaerts struck out but reached 1st on a throwing error by Yankee catcher Chase Headley. He reached second on a bunt single by Mitch Moreland, and got to 3rd on a double play, scoring on a wild pitch by Yankee starter Michael Pineda. That was it for the mighty Red Sox offense, who managed just 4 hits and 4 walks over the whole game. Meanwhile, for the second time in a row, a premier Red Sox starter got beaten about. David Price gave up 6 runs on 8 hits, including two home runs by Gary Sanchez, over just 5 innings in which he threw 107 pitches. He walked 4 and struck out 4. In fact, each of the Red Sox pitchers in this game gave up at least one run. Fernando Abad gave up 2 singles and a walk for a run in the 6th. Brandon Workman surrendered a solo blast to Brett Gardner in the 8th, then after loading the bases on 2 singles and a HBP, gave up another run on a fielder’s choice. The Sox seem to lack energy and confidence. Let’s hope that all changes soon, as Boston, which had a chance to tie and even go ahead of New York, has instead slipped to 3 games back. New York beat Boston, 9-1, at Yankee Stadium. Record: 32-27. Game 59/103.