July 22, 2016

G94: Twins 2, Red Sox 1

Twins   - 010 001 000 - 2 10  1
Red Sox - 100 000 000 - 1  4  1
The Red Sox had the bases loaded with no one out in the bottom of the ninth inning. They trailed by only one run and had David Ortiz at the plate, facing Brandon Kintzler.

However, there were no walkoff heroics from Big Papi tonight. He grounded into a 4-2-3 double play, which cut down the runner coming in from third. With men at second and third, Hanley Ramirez lined out to right to end the game.

For the second game in a row, Mookie Betts led off the first inning with a home run (though he waited until the second pitch to hit this one). It was his 20th dong of the season. ... Betts left the game in the fifth inning with a sore right knee.

Eduardo Rodriguez: 5.1-6-2-1-8, 95.
Kyle Gibson / Eduardo Rodriguez
Betts, RF
Pedroia, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Ortiz, DH
Ramirez, 1B
Bradley, CF
Shaw, 3B
Leon, C
Holt, LF

Commissioner Rob Manfred "In Favor" Of Limiting Use Of Relief Pitchers

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday that he would be "in favor" of restricting the number of relief pitchers a team could use in an inning or in a game.
You know the problem with relief pitchers is that they're so good. I've got nothing against relief pitchers but they do two things to the game: The pitching changes themselves slow the game down, and our relief pitchers have become so dominate at the back end that they actually rob action out of the end of the game, the last few innings of the game. So relief pitchers is a topic that is under active consideration. We're talking about that a lot internally.
This is quite honestly the absolute dumbest idea I have heard in a long time. Is this actually being considered in MLB's offices? Is Manfred trying to drive long-time fans away from the game? (More shockingly, will Manfred actually make people wistful about Bud Selig?)

But if Manfred is serious, I've got a few other ways to not "slow the game down":
1. Limit the number of pitches that a team can throw in a game. Too many pitches = long games. Can't have that. ... Ding! Sorry, Astros, you just threw pitch 150. The game is over!

2. Batters can see no more than five pitches in any plate appearance. Depending on whether there are more balls or strikes after pitch #5, the batter will be awarded a walk or be called out on strikes.

3. Slower pitches obviously slow the game down, so pitchers will be allowed to throw no more than six off-speed pitches per inning. (Steven Wright will be banned from MLB.)

4. Keep commercial breaks the same length (local games 2:25; national games 2:45; postseason: 3:00+).

July 21, 2016

G93: Red Sox 13, Twins 2

Twins   - 000 020 000 -  2  5  1
Red Sox - 303 010 24x - 13 17  1
Mookie Betts drilled the Twins' first pitch of the game for a home run - and the Red Sox never looked back. The first four batters in the Boston batting order went 14-for-19, with 10 runs scored and nine RBI.

Dustin Pedroia went 5-for-5 - the fifth five-hit game of his career - and three other hitters collected three hits: Betts, Xander Bogaerts, and David Ortiz. Ortiz drove in four runs (two coming on an eighth-inning home run) and Jackie Bradley drove in three. Betts, Pedroia, and Bogaerts each scored three runs.

Steven Wright (8-4-2-1-9, 108) retired the first 13 batters and allowed only one earned run.

Tyler Duffey / Steven Wright
Betts, RF
Pedroia, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Ortiz, DH
Ramirez, 1B
Bradley, CF
Shaw, 3B
Hanigan, C
Holt, LF
The top three teams in the AL East are separated by only one game: Boston is in first, followed by the Orioles (0.5 GB) and Blue Jays (1.0 GB). ... Balrtimore plays the Yankees this afternoon. ... Toronto has the day off.

(Update: The Orioles beat the Yankees 4-1 and moved into a first-place tie with the Red Sox.)

Brian Johnson And Anxiety: "My Goals Became My Expectations"

Alex Speier of the Boston Globe has an in-depth story on Red Sox minor-league pitcher Brian Johnson's struggle with anxiety. As Speier notes in an intro to the story:
There was a time when it would have been unfathomable for a player to inform his organization that he was struggling with a mental health issue, and likewise when it would have been almost unfathomable for the organization and player to make the treatment for a mental health issue public. [The Red Sox's response to Johnson's request for treatment] offered a suggestion of how far the sports community and society at large has come on the subject of mental health.
Brian Johnson:
My goals became my expectations. I felt like I had a microscope put on myself. If I didn't throw perfect, I was [angry]. If I gave up one run, I was [angry]. Nothing was good enough. ...

I never felt like I was living in the moment. I was always looking two to three steps ahead. I was waking up in cold sweats. I just never felt like myself. I had bags under my eyes. I was short-tempered. I love my parents to death, but they would reach out, I'd call them, my dad would ask how pitching was going, and I had a short fuse. Last thing you want to do is fight with your loved ones. It was becoming arguments because I didn't want to talk about baseball and how do you tell anybody what you're going through when you feel like baseball is the only thing you know? ...

I just felt like I was always putting on an act. I always felt tight in my shoulders. I always felt like I was putting on a show. Finally, I remember talking to [Pat Light], and he said, "All baseball aside dude, you're my best friend and you need to get right. You need to make sure you're good." It was tough. I was nervous to tell my agent, I was nervous to tell my mom and dad. ... [But] I just finally hit a breaking point where I said I can't live my life unhappy not just on the field but off the field. I wanted . . . I needed help.

July 20, 2016

G92: Red Sox 11, Giants 7

Giants  - 000 520 000 -  7 15  0
Red Sox - 035 002 10x - 11 16  0
The Boston Red Sox are back in first place!

Hanley Ramirez hit three home runs and drove in six runs. His third homer came off Albert Suarez, who had drilled Ramirez in his previous at-bat, prompting some glares toward the mound from the Boston first baseman. In the sixth, Ramirez stepped in and took a big cut at Suarez's first pitch, ripping a vicious line drive over the Wall, boosting the Red Sox's lead from 8-7 to 10-7.

Drew Pomeranz pitched three scoreless innings and was staked to an eight-run lead. But the Giants took him apart in the fourth: walk, single, home run, single, home run, single, single. His line: 3-8-5-2-4, 80.

Matt Barnes came into the top of the sixth inning with the bases loaded and Boston ahead 8-7. He escaped the jam with a 3U-2 double play (a great play started by Ramirez which survived a challenge by the Giants) and a foul pop to first. Barnes stranded runners at first and second in the seventh. Barnes ended up pitching three innings, allowing only two hits. (Brad Ziegler pitched the ninth.)

John Farrell called Barnes's sixth inning Houdini act the best relief performance of the year.
Given that he comes in in a bases loaded situation and going into tonight's game, the plan was for him to pitch the eighth. I didn't think he would pitch the sixth, seventh and eighth. He held his stuff throughout. He's done a great job with inherited runners and shutting down threats. That three innings or work, given the high stress of the first inning that he pitched, an outstanding effort on his part.
Mookie Betts had three hits, including two doubles. ... Sandy "the Beast" Leon tripled and homered. ... The Orioles (losers of their last four games) were shutout by the Yankees, 5-0.
Matt Cain / Drew Pomeranz
Betts, RF
Pedroia, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Ortiz, DH
Ramirez, 1B
Bradley, CF
Shaw, 3B
Leon, C
Holt, LF
Koji Uehara has been placed on the disabled list with a right pectoral strain and Noe Ramirez has been called up from Pawtucket. I guess Brad Ziegler is the closer now.

July 19, 2016

G91: Red Sox 4, Giants 0

Giants  - 000 000 000 - 0  5  1
Red Sox - 001 300 00x - 4  4  0
Brock Holt's solo home run put the Red Sox on the board and David Ortiz's three-run bomb extended that lead.

Rick Porcello (6.1-4-0-2-3, 108) had men on base in each of his first five innings, but allowed only one Giants runner to get to second. That came in the first inning when the first two batters singled. Porcello then struck out the next three: Brandon Belt, Buster Posey, and Brandon Crawford.

Porcello allowed a leadoff single to Jarrett Parker in the second, but Parker was doubled off first when Conor Gillaspie flied to Jackie Bradley in center, 8-4-3.

Jake Peavy (6-3-4-1-6, 96) retired the first eight Boston hitters, but Holt - on "Pet Brock" giveaway night at Fenway - lined a home run to right-center. In the next inning, Dustin Pedroia walked and Xander Bogaerts singled to left. Ortiz then crushed Peavy's first pitch 442 feet to right-center (that distance according to NESN, 452 feet according to ESPN) to give the Red Sox a four-run lead.

Koji Uehara retired the first batter in the ninth and threw ball one to Posey, but had to leave the game with a possible shoulder or chest injury. Tommy Layne finished the game.

The Orioles lost to the Yankees 7-1, so Boston is now only 0.5 GB.
Jake Peavy / Rick Porcello

The Red Sox have 72 games remaining in the season - 40 road games (including two trips to the west coast), 32 home games - and only five days off.

July 17, 2016

MLB To Managers: Pointing Out And Complaining About Umpires' Blown Ball/Strike Calls Is "Highly Inappropriate"

ESPN (Associated Press):
Major League Baseball is telling managers to cool it on arguing balls and strikes, and warning them not to rely on replay to bolster their beefs.

MLB executive Joe Torre sent a memo Friday to managers, general managers and assistant general managers that said: "This highly inappropriate conduct is detrimental to the game and must stop immediately." ...

[Torre] said skippers are increasingly relying on technology from the clubhouse or video room to argue from the dugout. Every pitch and play is monitored by teams in case they want to challenge for a replay review. ...

"Although disagreements over ball and strike calls are natural, the prevalence of manager ejections simply cannot continue," Torre wrote. "This conduct not only delays the game, but it also has the propensity to undermine the integrity of the umpires on the field."
I can barely believe this article is real. So Torre is saying that MLB's official position is that home plate umpires can continue blowing calls - which most certainly undermines the integrity of the game and often affects who wins and loses (sometimes because they are mad at a player; see, Kulpa, Ron) - but managers should shut up and let these incompetent arbiters continue to do their terrible jobs in peace. (And note that Torre implies that a delay in the game is worse than making the correct call. So as long as the game finishes in under 2:40, the number of blown calls is irrelevant.)

Because pointing out how deficit some umpires are in strike zone judgment would be "detrimental" to the game. However, it's not detrimental to have umpires re-interpret the rule book if they are upset at a player's attitude or decide that a batter has not had enough service time in the majors or judge that the pitcher has somehow "earned" the right to have pitches out of the zone called strikes. (Everyone simply accepts that each umpire has a "personal strike zone". Think about that. Do you see how insane that is?)

And so umpires like Kole Calhoun will continue to make calls like this one:
Pitch #3 is officially not a strike. But don't complain about it. We must preserve the integrity of the umpire.

G90: Yankees, 3, Red Sox 1

Red Sox - 100 000 000 - 1  3  1
Yankees - 000 300 00x - 3 11  1 
I guess the Yankees have turned their season around lol.

Dustin Pedroia homered to left in the first inning - and that was pretty much the extent of Boston's firepower. The Red Sox collected two more hits and three walks. They had only three runners on base after the second inning.
1st - Pedroia homered with 1 out.
2nd - Travis Shaw walked with 2 outs. Sandy Leon singled with 2 outs.
5th - Brock Holt doubled with 2 outs.
8th - Bryce Brentz walked with 1 out.
9th - David Ortiz walked with 1 out.
Boston had the middle of the lineup up in the ninth against Aroldis Chapman. Ortiz drew his walk after Xander Bogaerts had lined to right. Hanley Ramirez grounded into a game-ending double play.

Price: 5.2-11-3-1-1, 106.
David Price/ Masahiro Tanaka
Betts, RF
Pedroia, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Ortiz, DH
Ramirez, 1B
Bradley, CF
Shaw, 3B
Leon, C
Holt, LF
The Red Sox have won six consecutive games and Yankees manager Joe Girardi says tonight's game a must-win for his team, now 9.5 GB in the AL East:
It's got to turn around [Sunday]. This is probably as important a game that we've had in July in a long time.... No, I'm not discouraged.

Schadenfreude 194 (A Continuing Series)

Friday: Red Sox 5, Yankees 3

Post



Start the losing clock: Yankees' tragic number to become sellers
Girardi's dreary Pineda admission: We have no other choice
Yankees' make-or-break stretch starts off terribly

Daily News


Yankees baffled by Red Sox knuckleballer Steven Wright in 5-3 loss

ESPN

Wallace Matthews:
Michael Pineda has now followed his two best performances of the season with two of his worst, allowing five runs on five hits, three of them monstrous home runs, to the Boston Red Sox Friday night at Yankee Stadium. Pineda, who was awful through April and May, had strung together a pair of six inning, one run gems against the Twins and Rangers before getting bombed by the White Sox before the All-Star break. He was worse tonight -- he has now allowed 18 HRs in 18 starts -- and his 5.56 ERA is the highest of any qualifying AL starter.

Saturday: Red Sox 5, Yankees 2

Post
Yankees looking dangerously ugly as selling comes into focus
George King describes the MFY as "an old team awaiting walkers with a starting pitching staff that is drowning in oxygen. ... All of the Yankees warts were on display Saturday ..."

Daily News


Sandy Leon's homer helps Red Sox hand Yankees second straight loss to open second half
"Two games into their crucial 10-game home stand to open the second half, the Yankees are already going down the wrong path, a road to late-summer irrelevance ... Joe Girardi expressed optimism before the game that Sabathia would be able to return to his early-season form, but the southpaw has now given up at least five runs in each of his last five starts."

Red Sox fans taking over Stadium is clearest signal yet to Yankees brass
"Yet [the crowd] wasn't all that noticeable until backup catcher Sandy Leon took CC Sabathia deep for a three-run home run ... That's when the place erupted with cheers, making it clear there were thousands and thousands of Sox fans here. Even during this ho-hum season for the Yankees, the sound was stunning; I can't remember noticing such a Red Sox fan presence at the Stadium — certainly not since the Yankees started winning again back in the 1990s."

ESPN

Wallace Matthews:
In his five starts since [June 16], however, Sabathia has been truly horrendous: 25 earned runs allowed in 28-1/3 innings, 39 hits surrendered including 5 HRs and a 7.94 ERA over that stretch. Today, he allowed 5 runs (4 earned) in five-plus innings to the Boston Red Sox, punctuated by a three-run blast by the Red Sox backup catcher Sandy Leon.


July 16, 2016

G89: Red Sox 5, Yankees 2

Red Sox - 001 103 000 - 5 10  0
Yankees - 001 000 010 - 2  5  2
Sandy Leon drove in four runs, snapping a 1-1 tie with a run-scoring single in the fourth inning and belting a three-run home run in in the sixth. His 2-for-4 raised his batting average to .458.

Eduardo Rodriguez threw seven strong innings (7-4-1-2-1, 97) before Matt Barnes and Koji Uehara finished up. ... Jackie Bradley had three hits and scored two runs. ... Mookie Betts had two hits.
Eduardo Rodriguez / CC Sabathia
Betts, RF
Pedroia, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Ortiz, DH
Ramirez, 1B
Bradley, CF
Hill, 3B
Brentz, LF
Leon, C

First Box Score Published 163 Years Ago Today

John Thorn, Our Game:
[On July 5, 1853] the Knickerbockers competed again, the Knickerbockers achieving victory of 21 to 12. The first tabular box score in baseball was compiled during the game. It was published July 16, 1853 in the New York Clipper. It follows, just as it appeared, without notation as to positions, and without errors, hits, assists, etc., which were not counted until a later period. [Note that the brothers “Faucet” are in fact Van Cott; “Miebuhr” is Niebuhr; and “Parison” is Parisen.]