May 28, 2015

G48: Red Sox 5, Rangers 1

Red Sox - 000 011 030 - 5 13  0
Rangers - 000 000 001 - 1  5  1
Eduardo Rodriguez's major league debut could not have gone any better.

The 22-year-old lefty was simply superb, tossing one of the best pitched games of the season. He was poised and wasted no time in attacking the strike zone. Through the first four innings, he allowed only one hit on 43 pitches. He allowed only four baserunners through his first seven innings and finished with a 7.2-3-0-2-7, 105 line. He threw 68 strikes (65%).

I don't think I've been truly excited by a game like this all season.

According to Jon Shestakofsky, Boston's Manager of Media Relations & Baseball Information:
"At 7.2 innings, Eduardo Rodriguez has the longest scoreless outing by a Red Sox in his major league debut since Billy Rohr in 1967 (9.0 IP)."

"Rodriguez is 1st MLB left-hander since Karl Spooner in 1954 to have scoreless debut longer than 7.0 IP with 7+ SO and no more than 3 hits."
(Rodriguez was also the youngest Red Sox pitcher to make his debut on the road since 21-year-old Roger Clemens in 1985. Billy Rohr was 21 when he won in his debut in New York against the Yankees on April 14, 1967.)

And the offense came alive for him, totaling 13 hits, five walks, and five runs, despite hitting into five double plays. Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia each had three hits. Blake Swihart singled twice and drove in two runs and Hanley Ramirez hit a solo home run and a double.

Rodriguez relied almost exclusively on his fastball the first time through the Rangers' lineup, using his cutter and slider more often later in the game. He retired the side in order in the first, striking out price fielder on a slider for the third out. Josh Hamilton doubled with one out in the second, but Rodriguez struck out Mitch Moreland and got Elvis Andrus on a fly to center. Texas' next baserunner came with two outs in the fifth, when Andrus walked; Rodriguez recorded three strikeouts in that frame.

Rodriguez seemed to be finished after the seventh (and 90 pitches) - he gave a little nod to the heavens when he left the mound - but he was back out there for the eighth. He quickly struck out the first two batters before allowing a walk and a single. Tommy Layne came in and struck out Shin-Soo Choo to end the inning. Layne gave up one run in the ninth and Farrell called on Koji Uehara to get the final out. Uehara threw only one pitch - and Andrus flied to Castillo in deep right.

Boston scored in the fifth on singles from Swihart, Pedroia, and Betts. Ramirez went deep to open the sixth. The Red Sox rallied with two down in the eighth. Mike Napoli walked against Tanner Scheppers. Sam Freeman came in and faced four batters - he did not retire any of them. He hit Brock Holt and walked Carlos Peguero. With the bases loaded, Swihart singled in two runs and Rusney Castillo's single brought in a third run.

Peguero, recently acquired from the Rangers, was in the game because Xander Bogaerts was drilled near the left wrist by a pitch in the second inning. He played in the field for two innings before leaving the game.
Example
Eduardo Rodriguez / Nick Martinez
Pedroia, 2B
Betts, CF
Sandoval, 3B
Ramirez, DH
Napoli, 1B
Holt, LF
Bogaerts, SS
Swihart, C
Castillo, RF
Rodriguez, 22, will be making his major league debut. With the Red Sox currently in a stretch of 20 games without a day off - their next off day is June 8 - Rodriguez will give the rotation an extra day of rest. Manager John Farrell said that the lefty would be sent back to Pawtucket after the game.

Rodriguez has a 2.98 ERA in eight starts for the PawSox and has averaged almost one strikeout per inning (44 in 48.1 IP). He has pitched at least six innings in five of his eight starts.

Sox Prospects lists him as Boston's #4 prospect (he was acquired from Baltimore in the Andrew Miller trade last July):
Mechanics: Stands middle of the rubber. Hands set just above the belt. High leg drive up to elbow generating power. Slight knee bend on posting leg over the rubber. Will often drift toward home early. Three-quarters arm slot. Long arm action in back. Easy, loose arm. Plus arm speed. Smooth delivery. Stays on-line towards the plate. Gets himself in good fielding position.

Fastball: 91-94 mph. Has touched 97 mph. Plus fastball. Average command and control. Uses both side of the plate effectively. Fastball can be fairly straight and lack movement, but shows occasional arm-side tail.

Changeup: 84-86 mph. Future plus potential. Hard, sinking fade away from left-handed hitters. Willingness to throw in any count and to both sides of the plate. Throws most comfortably in the upper velocity range where he gets his best movement on the pitch. Orioles organization reportedly tried to get him to throw the pitch in the low 80s, but after trade began throwing it harder, which is more comfortable for him. Sells pitch well without slowing arm speed.

Slider: 82-85 mph. Solid-average potential. Ability to throw for strikes to both sides of the plate. Two-plane movement. Lacks consistency and bite. ...

Summation: Ceiling of a quality number three starter. Three average-to-above-average pitch mix. Pitches with confidence and poise. Working hard to improve. Works in and out and stays around the plate. Improving slider and consistency with the pitch will be key to future success.

For the Rangers, Martinez has allowed three earned runs or fewer in his last 15 starts, dating back to last August. So, he's due to get rocked.

May 27, 2015

G47: Twins 6, Red Sox 4

Red Sox - 002 020 000 - 4  7  0
Twins   - 003 201 00x - 6  8  0
Dustin Pedroia hit two two-run homers. ... Rick Porcello: 7-7-6-2-2, 94. ... Boston's #3-#7 hitters went 1-19.

David Ortiz, Hanley Ramirez, and Pablo Sandoval went 4-for-35 (.114) in Minnesota's three-game sweep.

The Red Sox have lost six of their last eight games and are 9-16 (.360) this month.
Example
Rick Porcello / Phil Hughes
Pedroia, 2B
Betts, CF
Sandoval, 3B
Ramirez, LF
Ortiz, DH
Napoli, 1B
Bogaerts, SS
Holt, RF
Swihart, C
News: Eduardo Rodriguez will be called up from Pawtucket and make his major league debut starting against the Rangers in Arlington tomorrow night.

May 26, 2015

Rabble.tv: Broadcast The Game Yourself

After all my complaints about NESN (and baseball broadcasting teams in general), I'm glad to offer a possible alternative.

Rabble TV is a new site where fans can sign up and broadcast the games themselves. According to the Help page, these are the very simple instructions:
1. Pick up the remote control to your TV.
2. Press the MUTE button.
3. Grab a mic.
4. Create a broadcast on Rabble.TV.
You can also see if the game/event you want to watch is being broadcasting by anyone. It looks like there are at least two broadcast alternatives for Red Sox games.

G46: Twins 2, Red Sox 1

Red Sox - 010 000 000 - 1  7  1
Twins   - 200 000 00x - 2  7  0
Only when the Red Sox were down to their last four outs did they finally get their second runner beyond first base. The first one had come in the second inning when David Ortiz doubled and scored on Mike Napoli's single.

Now, facing Blaine Boyer in the eighth, Dustin Pedroia grounded a two-out single to right and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Mookie Betts walked. The Twins brought in closer Glen Perkins and Pablo Sandoval, hitting only .071 against lefties this year, reached on an infield single. Brian Dozier ranged far to his right and gloved it behind the second base bag, but did not have a play. With the bases loaded, Hanley Ramirez flied out to right.

Perkins retired the Sox in order in the ninth.

Minnesota hit three doubles off Clay Buchholz (7.1-7-2-1-4, 102) in the first inning and scored twice. It turns out that would be all the runs the Twins would need. Buchholz ended up turning in a decent performance, retiring the side in the second, third, sixth, and seventh innings. He got a double play to escape a bases loaded/one out jam in the fourth.

Despite cutting the lead to 2-1 in the second, Boston could not do much against Mike Pelfrey (7-5-1-1-4, 100). Betts singled in the first but was erased on a double play. Sandy Leon singled to start the third, but watched as the next three hitters flied out. Napoli walked with two outs in the fourth and Leon singled in the fifth, but again, their teammates were unable to advance them.

Rusney Castillo made two outstanding diving catches, one in right-center and the one diving head first towards the right field foul line.

There was a rain delay of 81 minutes before the start of the game.
Example
Clay Buchholz / Mike Pelfrey
Pedroia, 2B
Betts, CF
Sandoval, 3B
Ramirez, LF
Ortiz, DH
Napoli, 1B
Bogaerts, SS
Castillo, RF
Leon, C

May 25, 2015

G45: Twins 7, Red Sox 2

Red Sox - 002 000 000 - 2  8  0
Twins   - 160 000 00x - 7 16  0
Joe Kelly registered only five outs (1.2-8-7-1-0, 52).

Dustin Pedroia, Mookie Betts, and Mike Napoli each had two hits.
Example
Joe Kelly / Ricky Nolasco
Pedroia, 2B
Betts, CF
Ortiz, DH
Ramirez, LF
Sandoval, 3B
Napoli, 1B
Bogaerts, SS
Nava, RF
Swihart, C

May 24, 2015

G44: Red Sox 6, Angels 1

Angels  - 000 001 000 - 1  4  0
Red Sox - 020 010 03x - 6 12  0
Wade Miley pitched eight commanding innings (8-4-1-1-2, 97), Mike Napoli drove in four runs with a home run and a double, and Xander Bogaerts went 4-for-4.

Bogaerts was on first base in the second inning when Napoli crushed a pitch roughly a dozen rows up in the bleachers in dead center. ESPN Stats and Info said it travelled 450 feet, the longest home run hit at Fenway this season. It was Napoli's fifth dong in his last six games.

Bogaerts collected four hits for the third time in his career: he went 4-for-5 on September 2, 2014, and 4-for-8 on April 10 of this year.

Miley retired the first 14 Angels before walking Chris Iannetta in the fifth. C.J. Cron followed with a single, but Miley retired Matt Joyce to end the inning. Mike Trout had an RBI-double in the sixth. Miley shrugged that off, retiring the side in order in the seventh and erasing a one-out hit in the eighth by inducing a double play.

The Red Sox (now only 2.5 GB in the East) begin a six-game road trip to Minnesota and Texas with a game against the Twins tomorrow at 2 PM.
Example
Hector Santiago / Wade Miley
Pedroia, 2B
Betts, CF
Ramirez, LF
Ortiz, DH
Bogaerts, SS
Napoli, 1B
Castillo, RF
Holt, 3B
Leon, C
Roster move: Shane Victorino was put on the 15-day disabled list and infielder Jeff Bianchi was called up from Pawtucket.

May 23, 2015

G43: Red Sox 8, Angels 3

Angels  - 200 000 010 - 3  6  1
Red Sox - 011 002 22x - 8 12  0
In play, run(s)!

The Red Sox scored eight runs on Saturday night - more runs than they had scored in a game in nearly one month (April 28). It was their largest margin of victory since a 7-1 win over Baltimore on April 20.

Mike Napoli hit two home runs, Brock Holt and Blake Swihart each scored twice, and Mookie Betts (who did not start) drove in two runs, as eight of the nine starters got at least one hit. David Ortiz was the outsider, going 0-for-4, after reaching base in all of the previous 19 home games this year. Steven Wright (6.1-4-2-1-2, 75) pitched extremely well and the bullpen took care of business the rest of the way with little drama.

The start of the game gave little indication of how it would end. By the time Wright had thrown 10 pitches, the Angels had three hits and two runs. Erick Aybar began the game with a single to right and after Mike Trout flied to right, Albert Pujols and Kole Calhoun stroked back-to-back doubles.

Wright promptly settled down, though, retiring the next 10 batters and 18 of the next 19. After issuing his first walk of the game with one out in the seventh, he was lifted, having thrown only 75 pitches. It was a curious decision, as Wright had thrown 110 pitches in relief on May 12 and 83 pitches in his previous start. (Perhaps John Farrell was concerned about the 12 flyball outs the knuckle-balling Wright had recorded.)

Napoli nailed a solo home run in the second - nearing hitting a target drawn on a fan's sign in the second row of the Monster Seats - to halve LA's lead and Boston tied the game in the third. Holt walked and took second on a wild pitch. Dustin Pedroia singled to right and Betts (pinch-hitting for Shane Victorino, who left the game with left calf tightness) singled to left. Hanley Ramirez reached on an infield single, as the Angels nearly nipped Betts at second, loading the bases. Ortiz grounded into a 3-6-1 double play.

Ramirez walked to open the sixth. With two outs, Napoli launched a bomb to left-center that sailed out of the park and gave Boston a 4-2 lead. Napoli's batting average is now up to a season-best .193.

The Angels used four pitchers in the seventh and Boston scored twice, Xander Bogaerts driving in both runs with a bases-loaded single. In the eighth, Holt singled with one out and took off on the 0-1 pitch to Swihart. The Boston catcher tapped a slow grounder into right field. As Calhoun ran in and fielded the ball, Holt was at third - and had not slowed down. He scored easily as Calhoun, startled to see him on his way to the plate, made a late throw. Betts knocked in Swihart with the Sox's final run.

The Red Sox came into the game hitting .203 with RATS/RISP. They went 6-for-12 in those situations tonight. ... They also gained a game in the standings and are now 3.5 GB the Rays. ... Adding to the day's fun: the Yankees gave up 10 runs in the third inning and lost to Texas 15-4. New York has lost nine of its last 10 games.
Example
C.J. Wilson / Steven Wright
Pedroia, 2B
Victorino, RF
Ramirez, LF
Ortiz, DH
Bogaerts, SS
Napoli, 1B
Castillo, CF
Holt, 3B
Swihart, C
Dustin Pedroia: "Everybody's pissed."