August 18, 2019

Chris Sale (Left Elbow Inflammation) Will See Dr. Andrews On Monday

Chris Sale, on the injured list with left elbow inflammation, has an appointment with Dr. James Andrews on Monday. Red Sox head trainer Brad Pearson will accompany Sale.

Manager Alex Cora said Sale, who has not talked to the media since an MRI revealed the inflammation, is not hiding anything, and will be back with the Red Sox on Tuesday:
He just wants to make sure he has all the facts before he talks to you guys. He wants to see where we're at with it and all the opinions that he wants to get, and then he goes from there. It's not that he's hiding from you guys. He just wants to be straight up and have all the information when he talks to you guys, which I think is fair.
There is no doubt that this news - coupled with Sale's ineffectiveness and lower velocity this season - about Sale is disconcerting. Sale's ERA (4.40) this season is by far the worst of his career, by nearly one full run (3.41, in 2015).

Burning Question Of The Day: Should NESN hire a Bill Walton-type for Red Sox broadcasts?
(Note to Jason Benetti: How does any announcer not know the most strikeouts in an inning by a pitcher is four? (It's happened at least 88 times, including three times against the White Sox while Benetti has called their games: May 2016, May 2017, and April 2018!))
Startle Response Of The Day: What a waste of a good beer ... though the Reds have graciously offered to buy her a fresh pint.

G127: Red Sox 13, Orioles 7

Orioles - 321 000 001 -  7  9  1
Red Sox - 002 106 40x - 13 16  1
In 2018, if the Red Sox found themselves trailing by six runs in the third inning, you'd keep watching without a second thought because it seemed like they rallied from such deficiets and ending up winning the game more often than not. This season, sadly, is a much different story. ... But not always.

Alex Cora, interviewed by NESN in the dugout in the middle of the third, with the Orioles holding a 6-0 advantage, barked: "Let's go win this game. Let's go!" ... And he soon saw that it would be so.

Rafael Devers went 4-for-5, with two doubles, a home run, and four runs batted in as the Red Sox scored 13 straight runs and won their fifth straight game. Devers has 101 RBI, the only player in the majors with more than 100.

J.D. Martinez went 3-for-5, with two RBI, and Mitch Moreland, who did not enter the game until the sixth inning, went 3-for-3 and scored twice.

Nathan Eovaldi (2-3-5-3-1, 43) was ineffective, but the six relievers who followed him allowed only one earned run in seven innings.

Chris Owings walked to start the bottom of the third and Betts doubled him to third. Owing scored on Devers's groundout to second and Betts scored on Bogaerts tapper to the pitcher. Sam Travis crushed a pitch down the middle to dead center for a solo homer in the fourth.

The real fun began in the sixth. Martinez doubled to left and went to third on Andrew Benintendi's fly to center. Travis walked. Christian Vázquez doubled in one run and Moreland, batting for Sandy León, knocked in two with a popup single that fell in shallow left, tying the game. Owings went down on strikes, but Betts walked. Devers's 46th double of the season, giving Boston its first lead 7-6.

Orioles catcher Chance Sisco did not enjoy the inning at all. He had to leave the game after being drilled in the groin by a Xander Bogaerts foul ball. Sam Travis had plowed into him when he scored earlier in the inning.

Bogaerts singled Betts home and Martinez's infield single scored Devers, for a 9-6 Red Sox lead. Benintendi walked, but Travis was caught looking, leaving the bases loaded.

AL Wild Card: CLE/TBR –, OAK 1.0, BOS 6.5.

Also: Ya gotta love Puig!

Ty Blach / Nathan Eovaldi
Betts, CF
Devers, 3B
Bogaerts, SS
Martinez, RF
Benintendi, LF
Travis, DH
Vázquez, 1B
León, C
Owings, 2B
AL Wild Card: CLE/TBR –, OAK 0.5, BOS 6.5.

August 17, 2019

G126: Red Sox 4, Orioles 0

Orioles - 000 000 000 - 0  5  0
Red Sox - 000 020 20x - 4  7  0
Eduardo Rodriguez (7.1-4-0-2-4, 106) stepped up after the Red Sox put Chris Sale on the injured list with left elbow inflammation shortly before Saturday's game. The Red Sox won their fourth game in a row and remain 6.5 games behind the Rays for the second wild card spot.

Dave Dombrowski did not have (or provide) much information about Sale's condition. When asked about the extent of the injury, he said: "I cannot answer that, really. There's going to be further evaluations. ... We're in a situation where I don't really know where it's going to take us ..." He was asked if Sale will pitch again this season. "I don't know one way or another at this point ..."

Rodriguez was economical in the early innings, throwing seven pitches in the first and 11 in the second. He had a runner on third with one out in the sixth – right after the Red Sox had taken a 2-0 lead – but worked out of trouble with groundballs to shortstop and third.

Brock Holt had led off the fifth with his second home run of the season. Jackie Bradley tripled to right and scored on Asher Wojciechowski's (4.1-5-2-3-4, 98) wild pitch. The inning featured more baserunners, but no more runs: Mookie Betts walked and Xander Bogaerts singled with one out, but J.D. Martinez, facing reliever Miguel Castro, grounded into a 1-4-3 double play.

Paul Fry retired the first two Boston batters in the seventh before Betts doubled to left and Rafael Devers homered on an 0-2 pitch.

After Rodriguez gave up a single with one out in the seventh, Matt Barnes took over. He immediately increased the pressure by allowing an infield single and throwing a wild pitch, giving the Orioles men at second and third, with one out. Barnes rebounded, striking out Anthony Santander in a nine-pitch battle (bssfbfffs) and then getting Renato Nunez on strikes, with Christian Vázquez making the throw of a loose ball to first.

Brandon Workman pitched a clean ninth, with two strikeouts and a grounder to third. ... In the last two games, 14 of the Red Sox's 19 hits have been for extra bases.
Friday   – 12 hits: 3 singles, 9 extra-base hits (6 doubles, 2 triples, 1 home run)
Saturday –  7 hits: 2 singles, 5 extra-base hits (2 doubles, 1 triple, 2 home runs)

It's back!
AL Wild Card: CLE/TBR –, OAK 0.5, BOS 6.5.
Asher Wojciechowski / Eduardo Rodriguez
Betts, RF
Devers, 3B
Bogaerts, SS
Martinez, DH
Benintendi, LF
Vázquez, C
Moreland, 1B
Holt, 2B
Bradley, CF

August 16, 2019

G125: Red Sox 9, Orioles 1

Orioles - 001 000 000 - 1  5  0
Red Sox - 100 203 21x - 9 12  0
Rick Porcello (6-4-1-2-2, 84) saw only one swing and miss* among his 84 pitches on Friday evening, but he kept against the Orioles' hitters off-balance all night. Andrew Benintendi (3-for-4) doubled and tripled, scored two runs, and knocked in two. Of the Red Sox's 12 hits, nine went for extra-bases.

Boston led 1-0 after only seven pitches from Aaron Brooks (5.1-8-5-1-2, 91), who gave up a double to Mookie Betts and a single to Rafael Devers. Brooks then threw a wild pitch and walked Xander Bogaerts, but managed to escape further damage ... until the fourth, when J.D. Martinez doubled with one out. Benintendi followed with a triple to center and, with two down, Mitch Moreland tripled to right.

Chris Owings increased the Red Sox's lead to 5-1 when he drove in two runs with a pinch-hit double. Devers began the seventh with a walk against Tom Eshelman and Bogaerts doubled him to third. JDM's sac fly scored Devers and Benintendi's double scored X. Betts hit his 21st home run of the year in the eighth.

* Porcello's swing and miss came on a 2-1 pitch to Jace Peterson, leading off the second.

After Porcello, Josh Taylor pitched a clean seventh on 11 pitches. Travis Lakins stranded two runners in the eighth and struck out the side (all swinging) in the ninth.

Nathan Eovaldi in on track to start on Sunday, with a pitch limit of about 60. ... David Price (left wrist cyst) might throw a bullpen session early next week.

Back in December 2016, the White Sox were willing to trade Chris Sale to Boston, but they wanted Rafael Devers (then a teenager in High-A) as part of the package. Dave Dombrowski put his foot down. "At that point, we were prepared to walk away."
Aaron Brooks / Rick Porcello
Betts, RF
Devers, 3B
Bogaerts, SS
Martinez, DH
Benintendi, LF
Vázquez, C
Moreland, 1B
Hernández, 2B
Bradley, CF
Peter Abraham of the Globe reports that, in the last two games, Alex Cora has made 11 pitching changes over 13 innings. The bullpen's impressive stats: 9.2 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 10 K.

Rafael Devers has 43 doubles and Nicholas Castellanos of the Cubs has hit 44*. They are on pace to end the season with 57 and 59 two-baggers, respectively. There has not been a 60-double season in 83 years.

Players Hitting 60+ Doubles In A Season
67  -  Earl Webb          1931 Red Sox
64  -  Joe Medwick        1936 Cardinals
64  -  George Burns       1926 Indians
63  -  Hank Greenberg     1934 Tigers
62  -  Paul Waner         1932 Pirates
60  -  Charlie Gehringer  1936 Tigers
In 144 major league seasons, five of the six times a player hit 60+ doubles occurred within a span of only six years. ... For almost a half-century (1950-1999), no player hit as many as 55 doubles. ... In 2000, two players came close: Todd Helton had 59 and Carlos Delgado had 57.

No Red Sox hitter has ever come within 11 doubles of Webb's record! Rounding out the Red Sox Top Five: Nomar Garciaparra (56 in 2002), Dustin Pedroia (54 in 2008), Tris Speaker (53 in 1912), and David Ortiz (52 in 2007). Three Red Sox hit 51: Joe Cronin (1938), Wade Boggs (1989), and Garciaparra (2000).

*: Castellanos and Devers are 1-2 among major league leaders in doubles. Xander Bogaerts (40) is at #3 and Andrew Benintendi (36) is tied for #4.

August 15, 2019

Lake Elsinore (Adv. A) Scores 10 Runs With 2 Outs In Ninth And Wins 14-13 In Ten Innings

Lake Elsinore Storm - 1 1 0   0 0 0   1 0 10   1 - 14 16  2
Lancaster JetHawks  - 1 2 0   0 0 9   0 1  0   0 - 13 15  4
The Lancaster JetHawks, one out away from a 13-3 win over the Lake Elsinore Storm on Wednesday night, watched in horror as the Storm scored 10 runs with two outs in the top of the ninth. Eleven consecutive Lake Elsinore batters reached base - five singles, five walks, and one double (there was also a wild pitch and an infield error) - before the third out was recorded.

The Storm, the Advanced A affiliate of the Padres, took a one-run lead in the tenth, but barely escaped with a victory as Lancaster, the Rockies' affiliate, left the bases loaded in the bottom half.

Pitch-by-pitch of the ninth and tenth innings:

Austin Moore pitching for Lancaster (ahead 13-3).
Jalen Washington (fsbffbf) pops out to second.
Allen Cordoba (c) singles to center.
Cordoba to second on fielder indifference.
Xavier Edwards (c) flies out to left.
Luis Campusano (cbbbb) walks, Cordoba to third on wild pitch.
Gabriel Arias (fcfbfb) singles to left, Cordoba scores (4-13), Campusano to second.
Mound visit.
Eguy Rosario doubles to right, Campusano scores (5-13), Arias scores (6-13).
Tirso Ornelas (bbcbb) walks.
Mound visit. Robert Tyler relieves Moore.
Olivier Basabe (bbbb) walks, E. Rosario to third, Ornelas to second.
Jeisson Rosario (bcsbfbb) walks, E. Rosario scores, Ornelas to third, Basabe to second (7-13).
Washington (bbcbc) singles to left, Ornelas scores (8-13), Basabe scores (9-13), J. Rosario to second.
Mound visit. Tommy Doyle relieves Tyler.
Cordoba (cf) singles to shortstop, J. Rosario scores (10-13), Washington to second on shortstop's throwing error.
Edwards (bbbcffb) walks, Washington to third, Cordoba to second.
Campusano (bcbc) singles to center, Washington scores (11-13), Cordoba scores (12-13), Edwards to third.
Arias (cs) singles to center, Edwards scores (13-13), Campusano to second.
E. Rosario (bff) strikes out swinging.
Fred Schlichtholz pitching for Lake Elsinore (tied 13-13).
Jimmy Herron (bbbcb) walks.
Mound visit.
Luke Morgan (b) grounds into double play, shortstop unassisted to first.
Austin Bernard (f) lines out to third.
Nick Kennedy pitching for Lancaster (tied 13-13).
E. Rosario starts inning as runner on second.
E. Rosario to third on wild pitch.
Ornelas (fcbfbb) singles to right, E. Rosario scores (14-13).
Basabe grounds into double play, second to shortstop to first.
J. Rosario (bc) grounds out to third.
Schlichtholz pitching for Lake Elsinore (ahead 14-13).
Bernard starts inning as runner on second.
LeeMarcus Boyd (fc) strikes out swinging.
Matt Hearn (fbb) safe on fielder's choice, Boyd out pitcher to shortstop to third to second.
Ryan Vilade (btfftt) strikes out swinging, Vilade safe at first, Hearn to second on wild pitch.
Hearn steals third, Vilade steals second.
Luis Castro (bcbs) hit by pitch.
Casey Golden (bc) flies out to center.
It's horrible seeing that "starts inning at 2nd base" at the beginning of both the top and bottom of the tenth.

"I Tell Everyone Over And Over That My Product Is Shitty, So Why Is No One Buying It?"

This guy is reading my mind.

Andrew Stein, The Hardball Times, August 2, 2019:
The prevailing opinion among baseball stalwarts is that the recent aesthetic changes in the game — namely, the increase of home runs, strikeouts and defensive shifts, and the decrease of hits and small-ball strategies such as the hit-and-run — have been bad. This reaction is to be expected. In nearly every era of baseball, players and commentators from previous eras have expressed displeasure with the changes they saw in the game. ... Major League Baseball's experimentation with banning the shift and moving back the pitcher’s mound would seem to suggest that even MLB believes that there is some validity to this connection. ...

Few seem to believe that the problem attracting younger fans may have nothing to do with the game at all. ... It seems at least likely that the problem baseball has with attracting new young fans is its production values. ...

Watch nearly any major league broadcast and you will hear mostly the following: narration of things that have already happened ("swing and a miss") or that a viewer can see on the screen (balls and strikes), anecdotes from former players, news from around the league, and even discussions of things that have nothing to do with baseball.

The latter topics are exemplary of how many play-by-play and color commentators appear to be bored by the game. Some announcers even go so far as to passive-aggressively vent about their distaste for baseball's changes. For example, in the bottom of the 10th of a July 7 Rangers vs. Twins game, Dick Bremer, the Twins play-by-play announcer, let fans know of a Twins defensive shift by saying, "Twins shift to a four-man (pause) five-man outfield. Whatever." And of course, there was no explanation as to why the Twins made the switch. ...

[T]his resistance to talking about the game, let alone accepting its changes, is often most noticeable during national ESPN broadcasts. During the July 14 Dodgers vs. Red Sox game, it appeared as though producers decided on topics to be addressed before the game even started. In the third inning Matt Vasgersian, Jessica Mendoza and Alex Rodriguez discussed ... Rodriguez's marriage to Jennifer Lopez (who was shown on camera) more than any individual plate appearance. ... The pregame show for the July 21 broadcast included a feature where players tried to guess the meaning of acronyms like FIP, WOA, and UZR. ...

It is difficult for new fans to recognize some of the most important aspects of the game without a little guidance and it should be no surprise that young people are bored by a game that they don't understand. It seems unlikely that new fans are going to invest their time in baseball when the communicators debase the strategies and statistics and often aren't interested enough to pay attention.

Going to baseball games further illustrates how little the sport seems to want to welcome new fans. At a recent Yankees vs. Rays game, the most current song played inside Tropicana Field (other than the players' walk-up music) was an organ rendition of "Seven Nation Army," which is a 16-year-old song. ...

Granted, there is no empirical evidence for this, but isn't it possible that young fans are not excited about sitting in 90-degree heat to watch a game that they barely understand, all while listening to music that was made before they were born, and watching hot dog mascots race each other? Does that need a chart?
I disagree with Stein's suggestions for increased entertainment at the ball park: playing more hip-hop, pop, and other contemporary music, updating light/laser shows, investing in 3D-projection technology, and showing pictures from the game that fans have posted on Twitter and Instagram on the huge scoreboards.

Baseball must decide (and truly believe) that its product is worthwhile on its own merits and does not need to be dressed up in the latest finery to appeal to the masses. If people don't like baseball, that's fine. Based on all available evidence, the people in charge of promoting baseball believe that having fancier and louder distractions from baseball will increase people's interest in baseball. Why doesn't everyone realize that is a complete waste of time?

Stein does make an interesting point, however, that in the not-so-distant future, most stadiums may need to be domed because of "a succession of record-breaking summer temperatures in regions where many teams play".

Finally, he writes:
On television, commentators could work through a fairly standard process to keep fans aware of what's happening. When a hitter comes to the plate, commentary can focus on his strengths, weaknesses, tendencies, and if he is on a notable hot streak. They should even be able to work in how the pitcher will likely approach this hitter and whatever the situation might be. Then, a prediction of where the next pitch will go and what it will be. Then, by the time a pitcher gets into his windup, silence. After the pitch is delivered, depending on what type of pitch it was, where it went, whether it was a ball or strike, and whether the batter swung, commentators can discuss whether that pitch and location will be repeated, or whether the pitcher will try something different. Additionally, commentators can let fans know if a batter will be looking for the same pitch or whether he will prepare for something different. In addition to these details, subsequent plate appearances will be able to include insight about how previous plate appearances impact the current one.
Well, good luck with that. That deep level of commentary, if done properly, will not appeal to casual fans. And many, if not most, teams' broadcasters would not even consider this, or would actively resist it, because it would involve work on their part and a lot of them (see Bremer, above, for merely one example) are allergic to actual thinking. Also, they apparently don't want to come off as too nerdy, which in this case means "making it clear you know what you are talking about" and "showing that you love the game you are being paid to talk about". (Oh, the horror ...)

As mentioned above, too many announcers spend actual air time complaining about their jobs. The hours are inconsistent, planes get delayed, and the games take too long. Hey, here's a hot take: No one likes hearing anyone moan about their job! And no one wants to hear people who travel for free with baseball teams and watch games for free and talk about games and do nothing else for employment bitch about how tough they have it.

How tone deaf does an announcer have to be to think anyone (even one person!) tuning in wants to hear about how you are being paid a hefty sum of money (certainly a higher salary than most listeners are earning) to sit through a four-hour baseball game in your own special booth with people bringing you food and drink and talk about what's happening on the field? ... What, you got into the hotel at 3 AM? And? It's not as though you then had to get up at 7 AM to go work construction or drive a bus or clean hotel rooms or even go to an air-conditioned office. "Oh, I slept only 10 hours (4 AM to 2 PM) because I had to get to the ball park for a night game!" Boo fucking hoo.

Many announcers, including everyone at NESN, have a strong conviction that a four-game hitting streak is "hot". And if not hot, then it's certainly "notable". Every team now uses complex methods of analysis, but announcers avoid talking about that essential element of the modern game at all costs. The men and women in major league booths could be (and should be) educating fans about how their favourite team operates, what the front office looks for in players and how it goes about building the roster, but the idea of "analytics" is often brushed aside or ridiculed.

Networks like NESN will dumb down the level of announcing as far as possible so they appeal to the widest range of viewers as possible. (They seem especially keen to rope in the viewers who enjoy missing pitches and throws to first and watching replays where the action is not visible.) The networks have a monopoly on broadcasting games. Dedicated and intelligence fans have nowhere else to go if they want to watch the games. I complain about this situation as much as anyone else, but I also know it's a losing battle to expect anything better.

August 14, 2019

G124: Red Sox 5, Cleveland 1

Red Sox   - 002 000 300 - 5 12  2
Cleveland - 001 000 000 - 1  4  0
Xander Bogaerts hit two home runs and drove in four runs as the Red Sox cruised to victory on Wednesday afternoon. Bogaerts – who came into the game with a .176 average in his last 12 games – was on base four times, with a walk, single, and the two dongs (#s 26 and 27 of the season and #s 100 and 101 of his career).

The day after going 6-for-6, Rafael Devers had hits in his first two plate appearances; a single in the first and a home run (#25) in the third. He and Bogaerts went back-to-back with one out. The Globe's Alex Speier noted that Devers is on pace for 94 extra-base hits (he leads MLB with 71 right now). "Only one player has ever had more in his age-22 season: DiMaggio in 1937 (96)."

Mookie Betts doubled off Nick Goody with one out in the seventh. Goody walked Devers intentionally and Bogaerts (who knows it's never Tribe Time) followed by slamming a full-count pitch out of the park to left-center.

It was a bullpen day for the Red Sox and seven pitchers took the mound. Brian Johnson (2.2-2-1-2-1, 52) allowed an unearned run in the third. Francisco Lindor singled to shortstop and went to second on Bogaerts's throwing error. A fielding error by Devers on Oscar Mercado's grounder put Lindor on third. He scored on a wild pitch.

A leadoff single in the seventh was Cleveland's last baserunner. ... Nathan Eovaldi pitched two innings. ... Andrew Benintendi and Christian Vázquez also had two hits each.

Brian Johnson / Shane Bieber
Betts, RF
Devers, 3B
Bogaerts, SS
Martinez, DH
Benintendi, LF
Travis, 1B
Hernández, 2B
Vázquez, C
Bradley, CF
On July 28, Baseball Reference's Playoff Odds gave the Red Sox a 41.2% chance of making the postseason. This morning (17 days later), that chance is down to 1.2%.

Rafael Devers's Historic Season (His OPS Is 216 Points Higher Than Last Season)

Rafael Devers's improvement as a hitter this season has been remarkable. After a lackluster 2018 campaign, he has raised his batting average 85 points, his on-base percentage 75 points, and his slugging percentage by 141 points.
2018: .240/.298/.433  - .731 OPS
2019: .325/.373/.574  - .947 OPS
Devers currently leads the major leagues in hits (158), doubles (43), and total bases (279). He leads the American League in RBI (93). He should finish very high in the voting for AL MVP, but may not for the dumbest of reasons: the Red Sox will not make the postseason. Devers will likely be punished because his teammates are not as good as he is.

Devers is the first Red Sox player (age 22 or younger) to hit at least 23 home runs in a season since 1966. In July, he became the youngest Red Sox player since Ted Williams to have 30 RBI in a single month.

Zach Cram, The Ringer (August 6, 2019):
Devers has struck out 45 fewer times this year than last, and he's recorded 43 more hard-hit balls (defined by Baseball Savant as leaving the bat with an exit velocity of 95 mph or more). In other words, Devers has effectively traded a third of his strikeouts for the best kind of contact ...

No other hitter has cut his K rate from last season by as drastic a margin as Devers, who struck out in 24.7 percent of his plate appearances in 2018 (and 23.8 percent in his introductory half-season in 2017) but is at just 15.5 percent this year. Cody Bellinger has parlayed the same trick—he ranks third on that list—into MVP front-runner status, and while Devers hasn't gone quite that far, his newfound strikeout stinginess has simultaneously subtracted the worst results from his ledger while allowing more opportunity for his best.

When Devers hits the ball, it goes a long way, very quickly; he ranks 10th in the majors in average exit velocity, among a horde of other hot hitters.
Devers is one of six players in American League history (age 22 or younger) to have 40+ doubles, 20+ home runs, and 90+ RBI in a season:
Hal Trosky       - 1934
Joe DiMaggio     - 1936
Ted Williams     - 1939
Ted Williams     - 1940
Cal Ripken, Jr.  - 1983
Ken Griffey, Jr. - 1991
Rafael Devers    - 2019
Most Extra-base Hits By A Red Sox Player In A Season (age 22 or younger)
1. Ted Williams  - 1939 -  86
2. Ted Williams  - 1940 -  80
3. Ted Williams  - 1941 -  73
4. Rafael Devers - 2019 -  69
4. Bobby Doerr   - 1940 -  69
Players Since 1950 To Lead Their League In Hits (age 22 or younger)
Harvey Kuenn    - 1953
Al Kaline       - 1955
Hank Aaron      - 1956
Vada Pinson     - 1961
George Brett    - 1975
Cal Ripken      - 1983
Alex Rodriguez  - 1998
Starlin Castro  - 2011
Devers leads the majors (by a wide margin) in batted balls with an exit velocity of 95+ mph (197, 19 more than D.J. LeMahieu). Five of his six hits last night rocketed off his bat at more than 100 mph:
1st inning double:  106.7
3rd inning single:  105.5
5th inning double:   90.3
6th inning double:  103.3
8th inning single:  108.8
10th inning double: 110.4
Devers had his first career six-hit game last night - and is the first player to have six hits and four doubles in the modern era (since 1900). He is also the 12th player since 1908 to have four of his six hits go for extra-bases.

He is the fifth Red Sox player with six hits in a game, joining Pete Runnels (August 30, 1960 (G1)), Jimmy Piersall (June 10, 1953 (G1)), Jerry Remy (September 3, 1981), and Nomar Garciaparra (June 21, 2003). (Note: Only Piersall did it in a nine-inning game.)

August 13, 2019

G123: Red Sox 7, Cleveland 6 (10)

Red Sox   - 110 022 000 1 - 7 16  1
Cleveland - 000 102 201 0 - 6  9  0
It was an eventful night in Cleveland-town, everyone:
Chris Sale (6.2-5-5-2-12, 108) set a major league record for the fewest innings needed to strike out 2,000 batters

Rafael Devers went 6-for-6, with four doubles and three RBI (Devers is the first player in the modern era with six hits and four doubles in a game)

The Red Sox blew a 6-1 lead, which included Brandon Workman giving up the tying run in the bottom of the ninth

After Jackie Bradley hit a home run in the top of the tenth, Andrew Cashner, in his new role as reliever, got his first career save
The evening started off strong for the Red Sox. Mookie Betts tripled and Devers doubled and Boston led 1-0. Mookie knocked in a second run in the second inning.

Sale reached his historic milestone when he fanned Oscar Mercado to end the bottom of the third. Sale struck out his 2,000 batters in 85.1 fewer innings than Pedro Martinez, the previous record holder.
Fewest Innings Needed To Reach 2,000 Strikeouts
1. Chris Sale       – 1,626.0
2. Pedro Martinez   – 1,711.1
3. Randy Johnson    – 1,733.1
4. Max Scherzer     – 1,784.0
5. Clayton Kershaw  – 1,837.2
6. Nolan Ryan       – 1,865.2
The Red Sox jumped on Mike Clevinger (4.2-11-4-2-6, 103) for two runs in the fifth. Devers doubled and Martinez advanced him to third with a one-out single. With two down, Mitch Moreland and Marco Hernández each drove in a run with a single. Boston made it 6-1 in the sixth. Bradley was hit by a pitch and Betts walked; both runners scored on another double by Devers.

Sale got the first two outs in the bottom of the sixth, but he walked Carlos Sanatna and Franmil Reyes hit his 29th homer of the season. Sale walked Roberto Perez to begin the seventh. He struck out Jason Kipnis but Greg Allen reached on a fielder's choice and Devers's fielding error put runners on second and third. Tyler Naquin popped to first, but Sale coul dnot get the third out. Francisco Lindor doubled to left and two more runs scored, cutting Boston's lead to 6-5.

Nathan Eovaldi inherited a man-on-second-one-out jam in the eighth and got out of it, fanning Perez and getting Kipnis on a 1-3 grounder. Brandon Workman was greeted by Greg Allen's single to in the bottom of the ninth. Allen stole second before Naquin struck out. Lindor doubled to left and the game was tied 6-6. Lindor apparently stole third, but the Red Sox challenged Lance Barksdale's call and Lindor was ruled out. Oscar Mercado flied to right to end the inning.

JBJ knocked a one-out dong to right and the Red Sox were denied additional runs when Devers was caught in a 4-2-5-2-5-1 rundown. Boston had a new battery in the home tenth: Cashner and Christian Vázquez. Naturally, the leadoff batter got on, as Santana singled to left. Mike freeman tried to bunt Santana to second, but Moreland threw out the lead runner. Cashner then struck out both Jose Ramirez and Roberto Perez.

There have been 110 six-hit games since 1908. No one has ever had four doubles before, though Shawn Green had four home runs (2002), Lance Johnson had three triples (1995), and Jim Bottomley drove in 12 runs (1924). ... Only four players have ever had a six-hit game at a younger age than Devers (22 years, 293 days), including Jimmie Foxx (22 years, 230 days) and Joe Morgan (21 years, 292 days). Devers is the youngest player with a six-hit game in 54 years (since July 8, 1965, when Morgan went 6-for-6).

Devers is the 12th player since 1908 to have four of his six hits go for extra-bases. He is also the fifth Red Sox player with six hits in a game, joining Pete Runnels (August 30, 1960 (G1)), Jimmy Piersall (June 10, 1953 (G1)), Jerry Remy (September 3, 1981), and Nomar Garciaparra (June 21, 2003). Only Piersall did it in a nine-inning game. [All hail Baseball Reference's Play Index!]

Devers is now batting .325 with a .947 OPS. This kid is gonna be amazing when he grows up and learns how to hit.
Chris Sale / Mike Clevinger
Betts, RF
Devers, 3B
Bogaerts, SS
Martinez, DH
Benintendi, LF
Moreland, 1B
Hernández, 2B
León, C
Bradley, CF
Chris Sale begins tonight's game with 1,995 career strikeouts, in 1,623 innings. The current record for fewest innings pitched to reach 2,000 strikeouts is held by Pedro Martinez (1,711.1). It's a safe bet that Sale will fan at least six batters in his next 88 innings of work, thereby setting a new record.

Sale holds the all-time record for K/9, with 11.1, and he leads all MLB pitchers in that category this year with 13.2.

Andrew Cashner, owner of an 8.01 ERA in six starts since arriving from the Orioles on July 13, has been moved to the bullpen. Whoop-dee-doo.

Michael Chavis is currently on the 10-day injured list with a sprained AC joint in his left shoulder, sustained while making a diving catch against the Royals back on August 6.

AL Wild Card: MIN/TBR –, OAK 2.0, BOS 8.0. ... (There's really no point in continuing to include this info, is there?)

August 12, 2019

G122: Cleveland 6, Red Sox 5

Red Sox   - 010 200 101 - 5 12  0
Cleveland - 203 000 001 - 6 12  0
The Red Sox fought back after Eduardo Rodriguez (6-10-5-3-5, 113) put them in a 5-1 hole, tying the game in the top of the ninth. But Carlos Santana led off the bottom half against Marcus Walden with his 26th home run of the year, giving Boston what several players admitted was a very tough loss.

Jackie Bradley led off the seventh with a home run and Xander Bogaerts had a two-out, run-scoring double in the ninth. Bogaerts then stole third, but was stranded when Andrew Benintendi flied to right.

Bogaerts, on his double:
In that moment you try to help your team and in the end it wasn't enough. ... It was joyful for a quick five minutes. ... It's tough, man. I don't know what to say.
Alex Cora:
Honestly, it's tough because I do feel this is one of the best games we've played in a while as far as being locked in, grinding out at-bats. ... We kept fighting, fighting, fighting ... but then that happens.
The Red Sox have lost 12 of their last 15 games. At 62-59, they are a mere three games over .500 for the first time since June 14.

AL Wild Card: MIN/TBR –, OAK 2.0, BOS 8.0.

Eduardo Rodriguez / Zach Plesac
Betts, RF
Devers, 3B
Bogaerts, SS
Martinez, DH
Benintendi, LF
Vázquez, C
Moreland, 1B
Holt, 2B
Bradley, CF