April 30, 2016

G24: Red Sox 8, Yankees 0

Yankees - 000 000 000 - 0  5  1
Red Sox - 020 002 40x - 8 11  1
Dan Iassonga is a horrible major league umpire, a disgrace to the profession. In 2012, NBC Sports called him "one of the game's worst umpires" and he has done nothing to improve his reputation since then. He has blown calls against the Red Sox before, distinguished himself with pointless ejections, and generally made a name for himself as a shitty ump. During last year's postseason, he actually apologized for making a particularly egregious ball-strike call.

For five innings on Saturday, Iassonga called a strike on virtually every low pitch thrown by Yankees starter Michael Pineda (5-5-2-3-3, 106). As long as the ball didn't bounce in front of the plate, there was a good chance Iassonga would be calling it a strike. It got so bad I wondered if Iassonga had money on New York and was trying to help them along. I counted at least 12 pitches that were out of the strike zone and were called strikes for Pineda. Boston's Rick Porcello (7-5-0-1-6, 106) received far fewer gifts.

Fortunately, Iassonga's incompetence - or favouritism - made no difference in the game's outcome. Jackie Bradley led the Red Sox's offense with two triples, a double, two runs scored, and three RBI. He was in the middle of all three Boston rallies, as they pummeled Pineda and a bunch of nobodies with names like Johnny Barbato and Nick Goody. Mookie Betts also drove in three runs and David Ortiz hit his 450th home run as a Red Sock.

Boston put two men on base with two outs in the first inning but that early threat was aborted when Iassonga rung up Hanley Ramirez on a pitch that was well inside. In the second, after the first two batters were retired, Christian Vazquez singled to left. Bradley doubled off the Wall (similar to his game-tying double last night) and Betts followed by poking a double to short right that fell in near the foul line for two runs.

The Red Sox added to their lead against Chasen Shreve in the sixth. Brock Holt walked with one out and scored on Bradley's triple that rolled past Jacoby Ellsbury and into the triangle. Kirby Yates came out of the MFY bullpen and Betts greeted him with a single that scored JBJ, giving Boston a 4-0 lead. Betts stole second and Yates walked Dustin Pedroia, but Xander Bogaerts grounded out to end the inning.

Ortiz led off the seventh against Barbato by golfing a 2-1 pitch over the Red Sox's bullpen for a solo dong. Ramirez walked and Travis Shaw singled to the opposite field, beating the shift. Holt reached base on second baseman Starlin Castro's fielding error, and a run scored. After Vazquez struck out, Nick Goody was next out of the visitors' pen and Bradley ripped the ball into the right field corner. Carlos Beltran was slow to chase after it (or maybe that's as fast as he runs these days) and Bradley had another triple.

The Red Sox tried to pile on more runs in the eighth, but left the bases loaded against Goody.

It was yet another dismal day for the Yankees' weak bats as only two runners advanced past first base. New York stranded two men on in the second inning. They had first-and-third with two outs in the fifth, but Ellsbury grounded out. New York (8-14) has lost four straight games.

After Porcello left, Robbie Ross and Junichi Tazawa finished up.
Michael Pineda / Rick Porcello
Betts, RF
Pedroia, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Ortiz, DH
Ramirez, 1B
Shaw, 3B
Holt, LF
Vazquez, C
Bradley, CF
Porcello pitched 6.1 shutout innings against Atlanta in his last outing, lowering his ERA to 3.51 and his WHIP to 0.94. Boston has won all four of his starts.

Pineda has a 6.95 ERA and 1.59 WHIP. through four starts. In his last time out, Pineda allowed seven runs on 10 hits to the Rays, including four home runs.
                            AVG   OBP   SLG    OPS
Batters Against Porcello   .200  .255  .421   .676
Batters Against Pineda     .316  .356  .674  1.030

Schadenfreude 187 (A Continuing Series)

Mark Feinsand, Daily News:
There are 139 games remaining on David Ortiz's farewell tour, but it's hard to imagine many of them will compare with Friday night.

The Yankee-killer crushed a two-run home run off Dellin Betances in the eighth inning, snapping a tie score and lifting the Red Sox to a 4-2 comeback win in the first of three weekend tilts at Fenway Park. ...

[The Yankees] continued to struggle at the plate, scoring three-or-fewer runs for the 16th time in 21 games this season and falling to 3-13 in those games. It was the 11th time the Yankees scored no more than two runs, dropping them to 0-11 in those.

The Yankees have now lost three in a row, four out of five and 11 of their last 15, lowering their record to 8-13.

George A. King III, Post:
All aboard the pinstriped bobsled to hell without a brakeman.

With five months remaining in a season that has started miserably, it's possible the Yankees absorbed their toughest defeat Friday night.

They led the Red Sox by two runs going into the seventh with ace Masahiro Tanaka hurling a shutout. ... Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller were poised to close it out.

Instead, Tanaka gave up a two-run double to Jackie Bradley, Jr., the ninth hitter, in the seventh inning to tie the score, and Betances watched David Ortiz drive a first-pitch breaking ball on the outer half over the Green Monster in the eighth to lift the Red Sox to a 4-2 victory ...

The loss dropped the 8-13 Yankees a season-high 5½ games back of the AL East-leading Orioles. ...

In the last 16 games, the Yankees have scored 39 runs. That's an average of 2.43 runs per game.

"I believe we are going to bust out of this," Girardi said. "We are having opportunities. You keep getting opportunities, it will turn."

The question is when, because the bobsled is gaining speed.

Wallace Matthews, ESPN:
In the space of five pitches, the Red Sox had two runners on after sharp singles by Travis Shaw and Brock Holt, and two batters later, the game was tied and Tanaka was headed to the clubhouse. ...

What made it even more painful for Yankee fans is that manager Joe Girardi had both his virtually-unhittable setup man, Dellin Betances, and his lefty specialist, Chasen Shreve, up and seemingly ready to go in the bullpen before the left-handed hitting Bradley stepped to the plate. ...

But on this night, Girardi's faith in his starter turned out to be misplaced, and when David Ortiz launched a two-run home run over the Monster off Betances in the eighth, instead of an inspiring 2-0 victory the Yankees faced a dispiriting 4-2 defeat ...

Ken Davidoff, Post:
When does early become late? How low can a baseball team go before ultimately shrugging it off as much ado about nothing?

These 2016 Yankees sure seem interested in tackling those questions, don't they?

With April nearly at its end, the Yankees hit a new low Friday night at Fenway Park. ...

They can go only so low, can dive only so deep, before the worry morphs into something more sinister. Before they're not all as polite about falling on their swords.

When does early become late? Each night like this one gets them closer to the answer they don't want to know.

Guess The Count #5 - With Lance Barksdale

Hello again, everybody, and welcome to Guess The Count!, the umpiring game where we give you the pitches and you make the calls. Test your skills as an arbiter against those of a real Major League Baseball umpire.

Today's man behind the plate is Lance Barksdale and we will be looking at the Red Sox/Yankees game from Friday, April 29, 2016. So make your guesses and then see how you matched up against our big-time ump. One explanation before we start: There are no tricks. All of the pitches were taken by the batter; he did not swing at any of them.

Ready? Let's begin! New York's Masahiro Tanaka rocks and deals ... and it's time for you to ... guess the count!

Now we have Henry Owens of the Red Sox on the hill:

Check the comments for how Barksdale called the pitches. ... How did you do? Do you have what it takes to be a major league umpire? If not, better luck next time!

Finally, we'd like to thank today's sponsor: Acme Robotics!

And that's all for today from ... Guess The Count!

April 29, 2016

G23: Red Sox 4, Yankees 2

Yankees - 010 010 000 - 2  6  1
Red Sox - 000 000 22x - 4  8  0
After Jackie Bradley's clutch two-run double off the Wall tied the game in the seventh, David Ortiz blasted an opposite field two-run homer into the Monster Seats to give the Red Sox a 4-2 victory over the last-place Yankees.

The Boston bats were listless against Masahiro Tanaka (6.2-6-2-0-5, 99), managing only three singles through six innings. Indeed, only one Red Sox runner had advanced past first base, and the Yankees led 2-0. But with one out in the bottom of the seventh, Travis Shaw chopped a single down the left field line and Brock Holt lined a single past the dive of third baseman Chase Headley. Potential tying runs on base, one out. Ryan Hanigan went down on strikes for the third straight time, leaving things in the hands of Bradley. JBJ wasted no time, smacking the first pitch (an outside fastball) off the left field wall. Shaw scored easily and Holt was rounding third by the time Brett Gardner threw the ball back to the infield. Holt scored the tying run without a play.

That was the end of Tanaka's night and manager Joe Girardi brought in Dellin Betances (23 strikeouts in 10 innings of work this season). Mookie Betts flied out to end the inning and Girardi stayed with Betances for the eighth. After Dustin Pedroia grounded to second, Xander Bogaerts singled up the middle. Then it was up to Big Papi (0-for-7, 4 K against Betances). He launched an outside curveball over the Wall to give Boston a 4-2 lead. Craig Kimbrel had an easy inning in the ninth. Boston pitchers retired the last 13 Yankee hitters.

Henry Owens (6-6-2-3-3, 92) was wild at times, but he held the Yankees in check, and was helped out by four double plays. He began the night by walking Jacoby Ellsbury (leading off with a .268 OBP?!) and allowing a hit to Gardner. Carlos Beltran grounded into a double play and Mark Teixeira flied to left.

In the second, Alex Rodriguez crushed a homer into one of the light towers over the Monster Seats. One out later, Starlin Castro hit a sinking liner to center. The ball skipped past Bradley and rolled and rolled and rolled. Because Castro was slow out of the box, thinking the ball would be caught, he had to stop at third with a triple. If he had hustled, he might have had an ITPHR. Headley flied to left and Brock Holt gunned down Castro at the plate by 10-15 feet to end the inning.

After Owens walked Ellsbury with one out in the third, he got out of the inning with a double play of a strikeout of Gardner and caught stealing of Ellsbury. Castro's leadoff single in the fifth was wiped out by a fourth double play. Owens then drilled Didi Gregorius in the back to keep the inning alive. Ellsbury and Gardner followed with singles and New York led 2-0.

However, Gardner would be the last Yankee to reach base. Beltran popped out to end the fifth and the Yankees went in order in the next four innings, hitting only three balls out of the infield: Owens in the sixth, Matt Barnes in the seventh, Koji Uehara in the eighth, and Kimbrel in the ninth.

The Yankees scored three runs or fewer for the 16th time in 21 games; they are 3-13 in those games. It was also the 11th time the Yankees scored two runs or fewer, and they are 0-11 in those games.

The Orioles beat the White Sox, so Boston (13-10) stayed 1.5 GB. New York fell to 8-13, 5.5 GB.
Masahiro Tanaka / Henry Owens
Betts, RF
Pedroia, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Ortiz, DH
Ramirez, 1B
Shaw, 3B
Holt, LF
Hanigan, C
Bradley, CF
Weekend Match-ups
Saturday, 7 PM: Michael Pineda / Rick Porcello
Sunday, 8 PM: Nathan Eovaldi / David Price
             W   L   PCT   GB
Orioles     13   8  .619  ---
Red Sox     12  10  .545  1.5
Rays        10  11  .476  3.0
Blue Jays   10  13  .435  4.0
Yankees      8  12  .400  4.5
AL Team Batting Leaders

Runs Scored
#1 Red Sox, 114
#14, Yankees, 72

#1, Red Sox, 63
#15, Yankees, 21

Batting Average
#1, Red Sox, .278
#11, Yankees, .237

On-Base Percentage
#1, Red Sox, .341
#10, Yankees, .309

Slugging Percentage
#2, Red Sox, .443
#14, Yankees, .369

AL Team Pitching Leaders

#13, Yankees, 4.42
#14, Red Sox, 4.43

#6, Yankees, 1.249
#13, Red Sox 1.367

Joel Sherman, Post, April 28:
The biggest concern about the Yankees rotation going into the season was all the physical red flags that existed up and down the group.

So what is scary for the organization now is that the Yankees starters have been mostly awful — and wholly healthy. This is not about injury. Just incompetence.

Pick your early-season poison why the Yankees have struggled: poor starting pitching, terrible hitting. ...

[T]hrough 19 unappetizing games, the Yankees rotation ERA is 5.18. Only the team that beat them in last year's wild-card game, the Astros (5.38), had a worse ERA in the AL. ...

The Yankees have just eight quality starts in 19 games. and one reason is an inability to navigate a lineup capably three times. The third time through a lineup, the Yankees rotation is yielding a major league-worst .963 OPS.
And yet, here is the Daily News: "Masahiro Tanaka Looking Like Ace For Yankees".

We'll see about that tonight.

And Something For The Orsillo Fans ...

Awful Announcing:
[Don] Orsillo is currently calling the team's games along with long-time Padres color commentator Mark Grant. The relationship between Orsillo and Grant has been nothing short of amazing so far.

During Monday's game, Orsillo teased Grant about his tie clip to the point of nearly choking because he was laughing so hard. ...

Somewhere in Boston, a solitary tear runs down the cheek of Jerry Remy.
The Red Sox play the Padres in San Diego on September 5-6-7.

April 28, 2016

G22: Atlanta 5, Red Sox 3

Atlanta - 030 101 000 - 5 12  2
Red Sox - 101 000 001 - 3 10  0
Clay Buchholz (6.1-8-5-4-2, 104) had extreme difficulty with the lower third of Atlanta's order. The 7-8-9 hitters scored all five runs against Buchholz as Atlanta snapped its eight-game losing streak. Boston's four-game winning streak also came to an end.

After Hanley Ramirez's RBI-single gave the Red Sox a 1-0 lead in the first inning (Boston has outscored its opponents 30-5 in the first inning of the last 18 games), Atlanta came storming back. With one out, Buchholz walked Jace Peterson and Erick Aybar was safe on an infield single. Mallex Smith hit a ground-rule double into the right field corner, tying the game at 1-1. Nick Markakis (4-for-5) lined a single to left-center, scoring two more runs.

Boston got one run back in the third when Xander Bogaerts doubled and scored on Ramirez's two-bagger.

In the fourth, Buchholz walked Peterson again. Aybar reached on a force play, moved up on a groundout from Smith, and scored on Markakis's single. Buchholz walked Peterson for the third time to start the sixth and he came around to score on Smith's single.

The Red Sox's best chance to rally came in the seventh against former Boston reliever Alexi Ogando. Christian Vazquez grounded a single to right and Mookie Betts walked. With the potential tying run at the plate, Dustin Pedroia flied to right; Vazquez tagged and went to third. A passed ball put Betts on second. Bogaerts struck out and lefty Hunter Cervenka came out of the bullpen to retire David Ortiz on a grounder to second.

With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Betts singled and took second on indifference. Pedroia's single off the Wall scored Betts and made it 5-3. Again, Boston had the tying run at the plate. But Bogaerts grounded Arodys Vizcaino's first pitch into the shortstop hole, and Pedroia was forced at second by Aybar to end the game.

Ramirez finished with two singles and a double. ... Betts's ninth-inning single extended his hitting streak to nine games. ... Bogaerts doubled and walked twice.

NESN Note: In the top of the eighth, NESN's Dave O'Brien wondered if the Red Sox's inability to score runs (on a Thursday night) was in any way tied to the team's early morning flight to Atlanta on Monday after Sunday night's late game. (Never mind that the team played and won two games in Atlanta, took another night flight to Boston, and then played yet another kick-ass game in the meantime.) It's one thing to wonder such a thing, it's another to say it out loud over the air. Jerry Remy likely thought O'Brien had momentarily lost his mind, but he was very polite when he responded.
Jhoulys Chacin / Clay Buchholz
Betts, RF
Pedroia, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Ortiz, DH
Ramirez, 1B
Shaw, 3B
Young, LF
Bradley, CF
Vazquez, C

April 27, 2016

Red Sox Pitchers Striking Out Batters At A Historic Pace

Red Sox pitchers struck out 210 opposing batters through the team's first 20 games. According to Elias, no team since 1900 has recorded as many strikeouts in its first 20 games.

The Red Sox added 10 more Ks in their 21st game on Wednesday night, a 9-4 win over Atlanta, pushing their season total to 220.

The previous record was Cleveland's mark of 198 strikeouts through 20 games of 2015. (The Phillies' staff is right on Boston's heels this season, with 213 strikeouts in 21 games.)

Red Sox pitchers lead the majors with 10.4 strikeouts per nine innings: starters (10.4/9IP) and relievers (10.5/9IP).

David Price, who tied a career high with 14 strikeouts on Tuesday night, leads the American League with 46 punchouts.

G21: Red Sox 9, Atlanta 4

Atlanta - 011 000 011 - 4  6  0
Red Sox - 240 200 01x - 9 11  1
The 2016 Red Sox have scored more runs in the first inning (28) than in any other frame, by far. The next most productive innings are the sixth (17 runs) and the third (15 runs).

On Wednesday night, Bud Norris could record only four outs (1.1-7-6-2-0, 48) before he was ordered to the showers, as Boston again struck early and often, winning their fourth consecutive game. David Ortiz and Hanley Ramirez drove in runs in the first inning and Dustin Pedroia poked a grand slam off the right field foul pole in the second as the team batted around for the third time in two games. Pedroia added a solo shot in the eighth - which came one pitch after Atlanta catcher A.J. Pierzynski and third baseman Daniel Castro watched a two-out foul pop fall untouched between them - to finish the night with five RBI.

Ortiz doubled in each of his first three at-bats; the third two-bagger missed being a home run by less than one inch, as it hit the top of the center field fence just under the bottom of the yellow line on the Wall. Big Papi scored twice and drove in two runs. He now has 1,119 extra-base hits, which ties him with George Brett for 16th all-time. The next batter in his sights is Manny Ramirez (#15, 1,122). Ortiz also has 595 career doubles, good for 16th place all-time.

Steven Wright (7-3-2-3-8, 116) was solid once again, though the unpredictability of his knuckleball caused no end of grief for Ryan Hanigan behind the plate. Hanigan was charged with four passed balls, including three in the fourth inning. Wright - who has allowed three earned runs or fewer in 14 of his 15 career starts - lowered his team-leading ERA to 1.37.

With two outs in the bottom of the first, Xander Bogaerts scored from first base on Ortiz's double into the right field corner. Ramirez followed with a bloop single to center to give Boston a 2-0 lead. Ramirez then stole second base, giving the Red Sox 20 steals in 22 attempts this season.

Hanigan began the second inning with a single to left. Jackie Bradley walked and Mookie Betts singled to right, loading the bases. Pedroia then homered on a 1-0 pitch, his third career grand slam. Bogaerts grounded out and Ortiz doubled off the Wall - and that was the end of Norris's night. John Gant, who ended up pitching 4.2 innings of relief, kept things quiet until the fourth, when Bogaerts walked and scored on Ortiz's third double/near-home run to center. After Ramirez fanned, Travis Shaw hit the first triple of his career, which upped the score to 8-2.

NESN Note: Before the game started, NESN showed a graphic illustrating how the top three batters in the Red Sox order - Betts, Pedroia, and Bogaerts - had "set the table" during the five-game road trip. Yet in attempting to show how often those three hitters reached base, NESN did not use on-base percentage, but emphasized their batting averages. Despite the Red Sox's embrace of and reliance upon advanced metrics, NESN remains in the dark ages. Its continued use of fielding percentage to measure the strength of a team's defense is perhaps Exhibit A in that regard. Many baseball observers exposed the flaws in fielding percentage way back in the 1880s. NESN has yet to see the light.
Bud Norris / Steven Wright
Betts, RF
Pedroia, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Ortiz, DH
Ramirez, 1B
Shaw, 3B
Holt, LF
Hanigan, C
Bradley, CF
It would be great to start the series against the Yankees on Friday with the Red Sox (now 0.5 GB) in first place and the MFY in the cellar. There are two weekend series against the Yankees in the next two weeks: April 29, 30, and May 1 at Fenway, and May 6-8 in New York.

April 26, 2016

G20: Red Sox 11, Atlanta 4

Red Sox - 400 010 105 - 11 13  1
Atlanta - 100 100 002 -  4  8  0
David Price (8-6-2-2-14, 115) tied a career high with 14 strikeouts. Atlanta did load the bases against Price twice, in the first and fourth innings, but the Boston lefty finished strong, striking out the last five batters he faced. Eight of Price's last nine outs were by strikeout.

Travis Shaw drove in a career-high five runs, with a three-run home run in the first and a two-run double in the ninth. Xander Bogaerts had three hits, stole two bases and scored twice; Dustin Pedroia and Shaw also scored two runs each.

Nine of Boston's hits were for extra-bases: seven doubles (by seven different players), one triple, and one home run. Everyone in the starting lineup except Price had at least one hit, and Price drew a walk in the fourth. Boston pounded six hits, including five for extra bases, in the ninth inning as they put the game well out of reach.

Pat Light made his major league debut in the ninth, in relief of Price. He was clearly nervous and allowed two singles to his first two hitters. Then he issued a four-pitch walk, loading the bases. Facing the top of Atlanta's order, Light settled down and got three ground ball outs, though two meaningless runs did score.

After the Red Sox batted around and took a 4-0 lead in the top of the first, Price recorded two outs on only four pitches before allowing three singles and a walk, and a run. In the bottom of the fourth, Atlanta loaded the bases with one out and because the score was only 4-1, that jam prompted manager John Farrell to call up the bullpen. No one got up to throw, though, and Price wriggled out of trouble, giving up one run on a sacrifice fly.

With Bogaerts's two stolen bases and one from Mookie Betts, the Red Sox have stolen 19 bases in 20 games. They did not reach 19 steals until their 51st game last season.

The Red Sox (11-9) are only 0.5 GB the Orioles in the AL East. Boston and Atlanta now play two games at Fenway Park.
David Price / Matt Wisler
Betts, RF
Pedroia, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Shaw, 3B
Ramirez, 1B
Bradley, CF
Holt, LF
Vazquez, C
Price, P
Among the 52 qualifying American League pitchers, Price's ERA of 7.06 is dead last. And it's 103 out of 105 MLB pitchers.

Announcers Say The Darndest Things

In the bottom of the first inning of last night's game, NESN's Steve Lyons said:
If you get 10 hits, you should win a ball game.
This struck me as very silly, since the object of a team is to get runs, not hits. I understand, of course, that if a team gets 10+ hits in a game, it likely means they have scored at least a handful of runs, possibly (or probably) enough to win the game. But it's still an odd thing to say.

I checked this season's games with Baseball Reference's amazing Play Index. There have been 152 instances in which a team got 10 hits and won, and 47 instances in which a team got 10 hits and lost. That's a .764 winning percentage. In 2015, teams with 10+ hits went 1299-534, .708. So teams with 10+ hits win roughly three out of every four games. Maybe (gulp) Lyons wasn't so silly after all.
I must give thanks to Lyons for noting in the top of the third inning, with Mookie Betts on second base, that "a single most likely would drive in a run". I swear Lyons emphasized the words "most likely", indicating that a run would not be guaranteed to score. I desperately want to believe that Lyons was directing his comment to NESN's Dave O'Brien, who regularly says, with a runner on second, that a hit "will" drive in a run or a hit "means" a run - as though that result is codified in the rule book.

Last night, O'Brien watched as Christian Vazquez had to stay at second even as Rick Porcello bunted for a single. Will that cause him to reflect on (and then correct) his choice of words in the future? I doubt it.
O'Brien also said (as the game begun) that Porcello was off to the "best start of his career". O'Brien likely meant Porcello's 3-0 record, because he (and Lyons) made a big deal later in the game about the possibility of going to 4-0. O'Brien and Lyons should know that W-L records are virtually useless for pitchers. I'll look instead at Porcello's ERA, which was 4.66 (nearly one run above the AL average of 3.71) at the start of last night's game:

Porcello's ERA After Three Starts
2016 - 4.66
2015 - 6.63
2014 - 3.15
2013 - 11.08 (also included one relief appearance)
2012 - 6.32
2011 - 6.19
2010 - 6.46
2009 - 4.50
Porcello has had two seasons in which his ERA was lower after three starts than it was in 2016, though only 2014 is substantially lower. I would say that Porcello was not off to the best start of his career.
During a game on the last homestand, the Red Sox were trailing by a couple of runs and batting in the bottom of the ninth. With two outs, O'Brien said the team was "down to their last man". This statement was completely wrong. The Red Sox were, in fact, down to their last out. There is a huge difference. As long as the Red Sox did not make the game's final out, they could keep sending men to the plate. O'Brien should know better.

April 25, 2016

G19: Red Sox 1, Atlanta 0

Red Sox - 000 000 100 - 1  6  0
Atlanta - 000 000 000 - 0  4  2
Jackie Bradley's first home run of the year accounted for the only run of the night. The racist, tomahawk-chopping* fans in Atlanta probably had no idea what the home run was. Atlanta is 4-15, the worst record in MLB, and has hit only three long balls in 19 games this season, and none in the last 14 games.

Rick Porcello (6.1-4-0-2-6, 98) pitched at least six innings for the 12th consecutive start, the longest current streak in the majors right now. Robbie Ross relieved the Mushroom in the seventh, with runners at first and second and one out. A force play put an enemy runner on third, but Ross struck out pinch-hitter Erick Aybar on a called strike three to end the inning.

Atlanta appeared to have a baserunner with two outs in the bottom of the ninth when a pitch from Craig Kimbrel hit Freddie Freeman's right (front) foot. Freeman called to the dugout and pointed to his foot, so the home plate umpire's call of "ball 1" was challenged. NESN's two replay angles were not good, but it did look like he was hit. However, the call was not overturned! Four pitches later, Freeman struck out, and the Red Sox were victorious.

After Bradley's one-out homer in the seventh, Boston kept hitting. Christian Vazquez doubled. Porcello bunted for a single, but Vazquez had to stay on the bag. (Note to Dave O'Brien: See? Singles do not always score the man on second!) After Mookie Betts fanned, Dustin Pedroia walked, loading the bases. Xander Bogaerts lined to center for the third out.

The Red Sox had scored in the first inning in five consecutive games, but went in order tonight.

*: The tomahawk chop is far worse than Chief Wahoo. What makes it so offensive is the "warpath" organ music played over the PA by the team. I find it astounding that this shit still goes on. It's also surprising that Wahoo gets so much attention, while the chop is ignored, for the most part.
Rick Porcello / Julio Teheran
Betts, RF
Pedroia, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Shaw, 1B
Rutledge, 3B
Holt, LF
Bradley, CF
Vazquez, C
Porcello, P