August 31, 2016

G133: Red Sox 8, Rays 6

Rays    - 120 100 020 - 6 12  0
Red Sox - 100 041 02x - 8 12  0
Managers are, generally speaking, stupid creatures. Or, if not stupid, then extremely timid and wildly conservative. A manager is hesitant to do anything out of the ordinary, because if the move doesn't work out, he will be grilled and ridiculed. On the other hand, a manager who slavishly follows tradition - even when it absolutely increases his team's chances of losing - will skate away unscathed and never be questioned.

John Farrell managed "by the book" on Wednesday afternoon ... and it nearly cost the Red Sox the game. The fact that Boston's hitters came through in the bottom of the eighth does not excuse Farrell's counter-productive decisions.

Steven Wright (4-7-4-3-3, 84) was  not very good and left the bullpen with five innings to pitch. Robbie Ross pitched two shutout innings as the Red Sox rallied. Hanley Ramirez crushed a grand slam in the fifth and Jackie Bradley hit an opposite field home run that landed atop the Wall in the sixth. (Xander Bogaerts donged in the first inning.)

(Tampa Bay also had what seemed like a key run wiped off the scoreboard in the fourth when Mookie Betts threw out Kevin Kiermaier trying to stretch a single into a double. Tim Beckham had been at second to start the play and should have scored easily, but he slowed up once he was around third and actually failed to touch home plate by the time Kiermaier was called out at second, which ended the inning. The run would have given the Rays a 5-1 lead.)

Matt Barnes and Fernando Abad took care of the seventh and Abad began the eighth. Nick Franklin reached on an infield hit and, one out later, Beckham walked. Corey Dickerson hit the ball well to right, but Betts tracked it down heading towards the corner. Matt Duffy pinch-hit and Abad walked him, loading the bases.

Farrell did not have many options in the bullpen. Brad Ziegler was out with the flu and Clay Buchholz had pitched the last two nights, throwing a lot of pitches. The only options were Junichi Tazawa and Craig Kimbrel (or staying with Abad). Common sense would tell you that this was prime time for Kimbrel. Boston led 6-4, but the Rays had the bases loaded. If there was ever a time that the game was on the line, if there was ever a time to bring in your best available pitcher, it was right now. Yet Farrell did not even have Kimbrel warming up. Why not? Because Kimbrel is the closer and because closers - according to "The Book" - pitch the ninth inning. Farrell did not even consider Kimbrel for a not-all-that-uncommon four-out save. And so it was that Tazawa came in from the bullpen, probably the worst pitcher on the team coming in in the highest leverage situation.

Even if you didn't watch the game, you can probably guess what happened. While Tazawa got ahead of Logan Forsythe 1-2, he then threw a pitch right down the heart of the plate. Franklin lined a single to left-center, bringing in two runs and tying the game at 6-6.

In the bottom of the eighth, the Red Sox faced Erasmo Ramirez. Hanley Ramirez walked to start the inning. Tampa Bay played their infield as though they were not expecting the Red Sox to bunt. And that seemed wise, because bunting is, in almost every case, a stupid move. But bunting is what 95% of managers would do in that situation, and so Farrell indeed had Leon bunt. It was successful, and Ramirez was now at second. But Farrell had, generally speaking, just lowered his team's chances of scoring. Looking at data from decades of games, teams score fewer runs per inning with a man on second and one out than with a man on first and no outs.

Brock Holt pinch-hit for Chris Young and singled to left. The Rays' outfield was playing shallow and Ramirez had to hold at third. Aaron Hill - mired in an 0-for-20 slump - lined the first pitch he saw to right field, scoring Ramirez and sending Holt to third. Jackie Bradley then doubled down the right field line and Holt scored easily. Boston had its two-run lead back, 8-6.

And sure enough, Kimbrel was on the mound for the ninth - and he had no trouble setting the Rays down in order.

Hey, let's add an extra level of idiocy to the proceedings. Guess who was the game's "winning pitcher"? Yep, Junichi Tazawa!

The white-hot Dustin Pedroia collected three hits, as did Bradley. Since moving into the leadoff spot on August 10, Pedroia is batting .463 (37-for-80). Pedroia is also 18-for-his-last-24 (.750!) at Fenway Park.
Drew Smyly / Steven Wright
Pedroia, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Ortiz, DH
Betts, RF
Ramirez, 1B
Leon, C
Young, LF
Hill, 3B
Bradley, CF

August 30, 2016

G132: Rays 4, Red Sox 3

Rays    - 100 000 210 - 4  8  0
Red Sox - 000 012 000 - 3  6  0
The Red Sox had the potential tying run at second base with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Chris Young walked, but pinch-hitter Sandy Leon looked at three straight strikes to end the game. (Note: Strike two was actually out of the zone.) Evan Longoria's home run off Clay Buchholz in the eighth inning snapped a 3-3 tie and gave Tampa Bay its margin of victory.

Tampa Bay scored an early run off Drew Pomeranz (6.2-5-3-2-8, 101) and Hanley Ramirez tied the game in the fifth with a home run down around the Pesky Pole. Boston took the lead in the sixth when Dustin Pedroia walked with one out and went to third on Xander Bogaerts's double. David Ortiz's sac fly brought in one run and Ramirez's single made it 3-1.

As has been a long-standing habit this year, a Red Sox pitcher could not hold a newly-received lead. Pomeranz allowed a leadoff single and got the next two outs, but gave up a home run to left-center to the Rays' 9th-place hitter, Luke Maile, on a 1-2 count.

The Red Sox went down in order in the seventh and eighth. Ramirez singled with one out in the ninth and, with two outs, took second on a passed ball. Young walked and Leon was called out on strikes.

Ramirez went 3-for-4 with two RBI. ... Travis Shaw was 0-for-4 with four strikeouts. ... Craig Kimbrel needed 22 pitches to get through the ninth; he allowed two hits.
Jake Odorizzi / Drew Pomeranz
Pedroia, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Ortiz, DH
Betts, RF
Ramirez, 1B
Shaw, 3B
Holt, LF
Holaday, C
Bradley, CF

August 29, 2016

G131: Red Sox 9, Rays 4

Rays    - 002 010 000 - 4  9  0
Red Sox - 020 320 20x - 9 14  0
Rick Porcello (7-6-3-0-7, 10) turned in yet another fine effort, retiring 14 of his last 15 batters, and the Red Sox hitters constructed a balanced attack against the last-place Rays. Four different players drove in two runs: Mookie Betts, Chris Young, Brock Holt, and Sandy Leon.

Betts got things started with his 30th home run, a solo shot to deep left to start the second. Much later in the inning, Brock Holt singled with the bases loaded, and for some bizarre reason third base coach Brian Butterfield waved a slow-moving Sandy Leon in from second base on the single to left. Leon was a dead duck, thus ending the inning and depriving Xander Bogaerts of batting with the bases full.

In the third, Hanley Ramirez singled and Travis Shaw hit a ground-rule double to right-center. Both runners scored on Chris Young's double into the left field corner, snapping a 2-2 tie. Back-to-back doubles from David Ortiz and Betts in the fifth brought in another run and Betts scored on Shaw's single. Leon's two-run single in the seventh scored Ramirez and Shaw.

Clay Buchholz needed 29 pitches to get through six batters in the top of the eighth. He started be allowing two singles and a walk, but then got three outs, allowing only one run. Fernando Abad had an easy ninth, giving up a two-out single, but getting a game-ending double play.

The Red Sox stayed 2 GB as the Blue Jays beat the Orioles 5-1, dropping Baltimore four games back. The fourth-place Yankees lost and are 7.5 GB.
Matt Andriese / Rick Porcello
Holt, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Ortiz, DH
Betts, RF
Ramirez, 1B
Shaw, 3B
Young, LF
Leon, C
Bradley, CF
Also, in AL East news, the Blue Jays and Orioles begin a three-game series tonight at Camden Yards.
TOR ---
BOS 2.0
BAL 3.0

August 28, 2016

G130: Royals 10, Red Sox 4

Royals  - 020 008 000 - 10 10  1
Red Sox - 000 130 000 -  4  9  1
... as Sleepy John Farrell and the bullpen blow yet another game. This time it was Matt Barnes who torched the place, facing five batters in the sixth, retiring no one, and allowing five runs.

Boston got its first run on David Ortiz's 31st home run of the season. (This came after the squanderific Red Sox hit into three double plays in the first three innings.) Big Papi's center field blast was career HR #534, tying him with Jimmie Foxx for 18th all-time. Right above Ortiz in 17th place is Mickey Mantle (536).

Xander Bogaerts drove in two run in the fifth to break a 2-2 tie. Then Eduardo Rodriguez tired (5.1-4-5-4-1, 98) as Farrell took a nap, and the game went straight down the shitter.

Yordano Ventura / Eduardo Rodriguez
Holt, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Ortiz, DH
Betts, RF
Ramirez, 1B
Shaw, 3B
Young, LF
Leon, C
Bradley, CF

Colin Kaepernick Takes A Courageous Stand

Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers:
I am not going to stand up [for the national anthem] to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder. ...

This is not something that I am going to run by anybody. I am not looking for approval. I have to stand up for people that are oppressed. ... If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right.
49ers coach Chip Kelly said that Kaepernick's decision was "his right as a citizen ... It's not my right to tell him not to do something."

The NFL released a statement: "Players are encouraged but not required to stand during the playing of the national anthem."

The playing of the national anthem before sporting events is anachronistic and I would heartily welcome the end of this tradition. We don't expect most people to stand for the anthem before they begin their jobs, why professional athletes? It's stupid and pointless and a waste of time.

Inside-The-Park Home Runs

On August 27, 1977, Toby Harrah and Bump Wills of the Texas Rangers hit back-to-back inside-the-park home runs against the Yankees - and on successive pitches!

And there is video!

Amazingly, it was the second time in modern baseball history that this has happened. On June 23, 1946, in the first game of a doubleheader at the Polo Grounds, Marv Rickert and Eddie Waitkus of the Cubs did it against the Giants. The Cubs lost the game 15-10.

Other cool inside-the-park home run factoids:
Brooklyn's Jimmy Sheckard hit inside-the-park grand slams in consecutive games on consecutive days in 1901, the only player in major league baseball history to do so.

On April 27, 1949, Pete Milne hit an inside-the-park grand slam for his only career home run.

On July 25, 1956, Roberto Clemente became the only player to ever hit a walk-off inside-the-park grand slam in a 9–8 Pirates win over the Cubs.

On September 2, 1975, Johnnie LeMaster hit the only inside-the-park home run to be recorded in a first career major league at-bat, against future Hall of Famer Don Sutton.

On October 4, 1986 at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, Greg Gagne of the Twins tied a modern-era major league record by hitting two inside-the-park home runs against the White Sox. Only 18 players in major league history have performed this feat, with Gagne being only the second since 1930.

On May 26, 1997, Sammy Sosa of the Cubs hit an inside-the-park home run in the top of the sixth inning against the Pirates. In the bottom of the sixth, Tony Womack also hit an inside-the-park home run, marking the unusual occurrence of opposing teams hitting an inside-the-park home run in the same inning.

August 27, 2016

G129: Red Sox 8, Royals 3

Royals  - 020 000 001 - 3  6  1
Red Sox - 220 121 00x - 8 12  0
Dustin Pedroia (4-for-5) came within one hit of tying the major league record for most consecutive at-bats with a hit.
August 25 vs Rays
1st inning: L6
3rd inning: Single
6th inning: Single
8th inning: Single

August 26 vs Royals
1st inning: Single
2nd inning: Single
4th inning: Walk
6th inning: Single
8th inning: Single

August 27 vs Royals
1st inning: Single
2nd inning: Double
4th inning: Single
6th inning: Single
8th inning: 4-6-3 DP
The record is 12, set by Johnny Kling (August 24-28, 1902) and Walt Dropo (July 14-15, 1952).

Pedroia's feat of reaching base in 12 straight plate appearances fell short of the MLB record of 16, set by Ted Williams in 1957.

Over his last 16 games, Pedroia is batting .484 (30-for-62).

Xander Bogaerts doubled, homered and drove in three runs. ... Mookie Betts and Hanley Ramirez hit back-to-back dongs in the fifth. ... Price: 6-5-2-2-7, 110. Price's season ERA is now below 4 (3.97).
Danny Duffy / David Price
Pedroia, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Ortiz, DH
Betts, RF
Ramirez, 1B
Leon, C
Young, LF
Hill, 3B
Bradley, CF
Elias:
Dustin Pedroia and Mookie Betts both reached base in all five of their plate appearances [on Friday night] ... Pedroia had four singles and a walk in the leadoff spot for Boston, while cleanup hitter Betts notched the first five-hit game of his major-league career. ...

Pedroia and Betts are the first leadoff/cleanup combo in Red Sox history to go 9-for-9 or better at the plate in a game. The last duo on any team to achieve that feat did so over 94 years ago. On July 10, 1922, in the first game of a doubleheader at Pittsburgh, Dave Bancroft went 5-for-5 atop the New York Giants lineup, while cleanup hitter Irish Meusel went 4-for-4 in the Giants' 19-2 pummeling of the Pirates.

August 26, 2016

G128: Royals 6, Red Sox 3

Royals  - 500 000 010 - 6  9  0
Red Sox - 100 001 001 - 3 15  0
Steven Wright had a rough first inning, walking two men and giving up a three-run homer to Eric Hosmer. Then he allowed a single and two-run dong to Alex Gordon. Wright did settle down, however, and blanked the Royals over the next five innings (6-7-5-3-1, 95).

In the bottom of the first, the Red Sox had a run in and the bases loaded with only one out. But Sandy Leon and Jackie Bradley both struck out to squander that opportunity.

Boston also wasted a 1st-and-3rd/no-outs situation in the third, as Hanley Ramirez popped to short and - yes, once again - Leon and Bradley both struck out.

The Red Sox rallied in the bottom of the ninth and with two outs had the potential tying run at the plate, but Leon grounded to second.

Some Good Things: Mookie Betts went 5-for-5, with two RBI. Dustin Pedroia was 4-for-4 with a walk, a run, and an RBI. Xander Bogaerts had three hits and David Ortiz hit his 41st double (but when the Red Sox needed him to be clutch, he grounded into a double play in the ninth).

Elsewhere: The Blue Jays pummeled the Twins 15-8 to claim sole possession of first place. The Yankees routed the Orioles 14-4.
Ian Kennedy / Steven Wright
Pedroia, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Ortiz, DH
Betts, RF
Ramirez, 1B
Leon, C
Bradley, CF
Shaw, 3B
Holt, LF
Steven Wright returns after missing three starts when he injured his right shoulder sliding into second base as a pinch runner on August 7. His last start was on August 5. .. In addition to activating Wright, the Red Sox optioned Heath Hembree to Pawtucket.

Clay Buchholz is headed back to the bullpen, as Eduardo Rodriguez will start on Sunday night.

It's a very tight three-team race with only 35 games to go in the regular season:
BOS 71-56 ---
TOR 71-56 ---
BAL 70-57 1.0
AL East: BAL/MFY and MIN/TOR.

August 25, 2016

G127: Rays 2, Red Sox 1

Red Sox - 000 001 000 - 1  7  0
Rays    - 000 001 10x - 2  7  0
Boston allowed only nine runs in the four-game series and could manage no better than a split.
Drew Pomeranz / Jake Odorizzi
Pedroia, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Betts, RF
Ramirez, DH
Bradley, CF
Young, LF
Hill, 3B
Shaw, 1B
Holaday, C
Andrew Benintendi is expected to have an MRI on his left knee today.

Update: Benintendi was placed on the disabled list. It is too early to tell if the injury is season-ending.

This Week's Sign Of the Apocalypse

The Chicago White Sox will be playing next season in Guaranteed Rate Field.

DNAInfo:
The White Sox and Guaranteed Rate, a national mortgage lender, have signed 13-year naming rights deal, according to the Sox. But the name could last even longer — the Sox have an option of extending the deal past 2030. ...

As for a logo for the park, Boyer said the team is working on one and that it likely won't copy that of Guaranteed Rate's, which is an arrow pointing down.

August 24, 2016

G126: Rays 4, Red Sox 3 (11)

Red Sox - 201 000 000 00 - 3  9  1
Rays    - 002 000 010 01 - 4 12  0
Heath Hembree's fielding error on what should have been the final out of the eleventh inning allowed Luke Maile to score the winning run from second base. Tampa Bay had runners at first and second and two outs when Kevin Kiermaier chopped the ball to Travis Shaw at first base. Shaw underhanded the ball to Hembree, but the pitcher dropped it. He recovered quickly, however, and fired the ball home. It was a low throw, but it seemed to be in time and home plate umpire Ryan Blakney started to make the "out" sign. He changed that to "safe" when he saw that catcher Sandy Leon had not been able to hang onto the ball.

Rick Porcello (7.2-9-3-0-8, a career-high 123 pitches) could not hold a 3-0 lead. The Rays' win came after the Red Sox bullpen escaped several late-inning jams, as Brad Ziegler left the bases loaded in the eighth and Craig Kimbrel struck out two batters in the ninth with the potential winning run at second. Unfortunately, the Boston bats went AWOL after the seventh inning. The Red Sox were retired in order in the eighth, ninth, and tenth innings, and managed only a one-out walk in the eleventh.

David Ortiz came into the game batting .542 on the first pitch this season - and he improved on that by launching a first-pitch two-run home run off Matt Andriese (6-7-3-1-8, 92) in the first inning. Dustin Pedroia had begun the game with a single and stolen second base. In the third, Pedroia walked and stole second and scored on Mookie Betts's single.

Porcello, who had left baserunners at second and third in the second, was not so fortunate in the third. Two singles put Rays on first and second with one out. Porcello struck out Evan Longoria and went to 0-2 on Brad Miller. But Miller worked the count full and ripped a double down the right field line that brought in both runners.

Porcello also escaped a jam in the fourth. With runners at second and third and two outs, Logan Forsythe grounded to the left side. Third baseman Brock Holt ranged to his left, speared the ball, spun around, and fire to first in time to end the inning. That must have inspired Porcello because he set down the Rays in the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings. Also, he was at 80 pitches through four innings and he suddenly got economical, throwing only 25 pitches over the next three frames.

Porcello got the first out in the eighth, but gave up an estimated 440-foot home run to Longoria that tied the game. Miller followed with a blast to deep right that Betts caught with his back against the wall. After Matt Duffy singled, manager John Farrell went to the pen. Robbie Ross walked Logan Morrison. Ziegler gave up an infield single to load the bases, but struck out Corey Dickerson to end the threat.

In the eleventh, Hembree - who had pitched a perfect tenth - retired the first two Rays on outfield flies. But Maile doubled into the right field corner and Forsythe walked on five pitches. Then Kiermaier chopped a 1-1 pitch to Shaw.

Also: Home plate umpire Blakney's poor ball-strike calls took the Red Sox out of a potential scoring opportunity in the sixth. Ortiz singled and two outs later Leon doubled. Brock Holt took an outside pitch on a 3-1 count that should have been ball four (and loaded the bases). Instead Blakney miscalled the pitch a strike, and Holt swung and missed the next one, ending the inning.

And: Andrew Benintendi sprained his left knee in the seventh inning. He had doubled and was caught off the base when Pedroia grounded right at Duffy, Tampa Bay's shortstop. Duffy had no trouble tagging Benintendi and throwing to first for a double play, but Benintendi, in trying to avoid the tag, stumbled and twisted his knee (and ankle). He was helped off the field and replaced by Chris Young.
Rick Porcello / Matt Andriese

August 23, 2016

G125: Red Sox 2, Rays 1

Red Sox - 002 000 000 - 2  5  0
Rays    - 000 010 000 - 1  6  1
Clay Buchholz (6.1-5-1-2-9, 94) set a season-high in strikeouts and Mookie Betts made the play of the game, gunning down Kevin Kiermaier at third base in the eighth inning, as Kiermaier tried stretching a one-out double into a triple. Craig Kimbrel allowed a baserunner with two outs in the ninth, but got Steven Souza on a fly to left to preserve the victory.

Andrew Benintendi hit the first of his two singles to begin the top of the third. He went to second on Dustin Pedroia's grounder to second. Xander Bogaerts struck out, but David Ortiz singled to right, scoring Benintendi. Betts followed with a single to right and Souza committed an error, as his throw to third to get Ortiz sailed into the Red Sox dugout, allowing Big Papi to score Boston's second run.

Buchholz allowed Tampa Bay's leadoff batter to reach base in five of the first six innings, but was burned only once. Corey Dickerson singled in the fifth, went to second on a wild pitch, and came around on Kiermasier's two-out double.

Buchholz struck out the first batter in the seventh and turned the ball over to Robbie Ross, who retired the next two Rays. Brad Ziegler was the pitcher in the eighth when Betts made a perfect one-hop throw to third to nail the greedy Kiermaier. Kimbrel fanned the first two batters in the ninth before hitting Logan Morrison (on the replay it looked like the ball hit the dirt first). Souza's fly to Benintendi in left was routine.

The Blue Jays beat the Angels, so both Boston and Toronto remain tied for first (71-54).
Clay Buchholz / Chris Archer
Pedroia, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Ortiz, DH
Betts, RF
Ramirez, 1B
Bradley, CF
Leon, C
Shaw, 3B
Benintendi, LF

August 22, 2016

G124: Red Sox 6, Rays 2

Red Sox - 000 200 103 - 6  9  0
Rays    - 000 000 002 - 2  5  1
David Price was superb (8-2-0-2-8, 116), Xander Bogaerts hit a two-run home run in the ninth to put the game on ice, and Andrew Benintendi make a remarkable over-the-fence catch with no one out in the eighth inning, robbing Steven Souza of a home run - and then nearing tumbling over the wall with the ball in his glove - that would have cut Boston's lead at the time to 3-2.



The win put Boston into a first place tie with Toronto - both teams are 70-54.

Boston scored two runs in the fourth, but left the bases loaded so it still felt like a bit of a squander. With one out, Hanley Ramirez walked and Sandy Leon ground a single into right field. Chris Young smacked a first-pitch double into the left field corner that scored Ramirez. Aaron Hill walked to load the bases and Benintendi hit a sac fly to left. Dustin Pedroia walked, re-loading the bases and ending Blake Snell's night (3.2-4-2-5-3, 94 (including 40 in the partial fourth inning)). Xander Bogaerts ended the inning with a grounder to third.

Ramirez brought in a run in the seventh with a sac fly. In the ninth, Pedroia reached second on a throwing error by pitcher Danny Farquhar. Bogaerts then hit his 15th homer. After David Ortiz grounded out, Mookie Betts singled and Ramirez doubled. Leon nearly beat out an infield hit and Betts scored on the putout.

Matt Barnes pitched the ninth and gave up a two-run bomb to Evan Longoria.

Price did struggle a bit in the middle innings, throwing 23 pitches in each of the fifth and sixth innings. He needed only nine pitches in the seventh and then Benintendi saved his bacon in the eighth.

Ortiz doubled to deep center in the first inning, his 40th double of the season. It was also the 624th double of his career, tying Hank Aaron for 10th place all-time. Ortiz is sure to hit at least one more double this year and claim 10th place as his own (ninth place (Honus Wagner, 643) is not within reach).
David Price / Blake Snell
Pedroia, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Ortiz, DH
Betts, RF
Ramirez, 1B
Leon, C
Young, LF
Hill, 3B
Benintendi, CF
Outfielder Chris Young, after seven rehab games with Pawtucket, is back with the Red Sox. Henry Owens was optioned to the PawSox to make room on the 25-man roster. Young had been on the disabled list since June 24 with a right hamstring injury. Young has a 1.042 OPS against left-handers this season.

AND: 40 Years Ago Today: I went to Fenway Park for the first time!

August 21, 2016

G123: Tigers 10, Red Sox 5

Red Sox - 000 001 400 -  5  7  0
Tigers  - 005 032 00x - 10 10  0  
In the bottom of the third, a walk and a double put Tigers on second and third with no one out, and the top of Detroit's order coming up. Henry Owens looked like he was going to escape, however. Ian Kinsler flied to center and the runner at third stayed put. Owens struck out Cameron Maybin and then intentionally walked Miguel Cabrera.

Owens went to a 1-2 count on J.D. Martinez - one strike away from heading back to the dugout with the game still scoreless - but Martinez slapped an outside pitch to right for a two-run double and Justin Upton followed with a three-run homer to center.

Owens needed only three pitches to get the first two men in the fifth, but Cabrera singled, Martinez doubled, and Upton cracked another three-run dong. Owens (5-6-8-5-6, 97) recorded the third out, but that was the end of his afternoon. Walks continued to plague Owens, who franked at least one batter in each of the first four innings. He was helped by two inning-ending double plays, in the first and fourth.

Junichi Tazawa came on to pitch the sixth and promptly gave up two more runs.

Andrew Benintendi tripled to open the sixth and scored on Dustin Pedroia's fly to right. Benintendi also hit his first major league home run (again), with a man aboard, in the seventh. ... Sandy Leon had two hits and upped his average to .386. ... David Ortiz hit his 39th double of the season in the first inning.

The Blue Jays lost to Cleveland 3-2, so the Red Sox remain only 0.5 GB Toronto. Boston now heads for Tampa Bay for a four-game series.
Henry Owens / Justin Verlander
Pedroia, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Ortiz, DH
Betts, RF
Ramirez, 1B
Bradley, CF
Leon, C
Shaw, 3B
Benintendi, LF
Eduardo Rodriguez was pulled from this start because of continued soreness in his left hamstring:
I don't want to get in the game tomorrow and do something wrong and get that crazy or get in the game and not focus on throwing strikes and focus on whether I can still feel that. I had that feeling before with my knee. I know it's going to be something wrong. It doesn't make the pitch where I want it or give up a lot of runs.

August 20, 2016

G122: Red Sox 3, Tigers 2

Red Sox - 001 020 000 - 3  8  0
Tigers  - 001 000 100 - 2  6  0
David Ortiz (3-for-4) cranked a two-run home run to snap a 1-1 tie and the much-maligned bullpen held the line as the Red Sox kept pace with the victorious Blue Jays. Boston remains 0.5 GB Toronto in the East.

Friday's 7:10 game did not start until 8:30 because of a rain delay. There was another rain delay of just over an hour at the end of the fifth inning that brought the curtain down on Drew Pomeranz's night after only 51 pitches (5-4-1-0-3, 51).

Singles by Dustin Pedroia, Xander Boagerts, and Ortiz began the top of the third, loading the bases for Mookie Betts. Betts brought in a run, but it was on a double play grounder. The Tigers tied the game in their half on a home run by James McCann.

Bogaerts doubled to the wall in left-center to start the fifth and Ortiz followed with a high fly to right, his 29th home run of the season. The blast gave Ortiz 1,500 RBI as a Red Sock, a milestone reached by only two other franchise players: Carl Yastrzemski (1,844) and Ted Williams (1,839). Ortiz also tied the major league record for most homers hit in a season by a player after turning 40, joining Ted Williams (1960) and Raul Ibanez (2013).

After the second delay, Heath Hembree breezed through the sixth on only eight pitches. With one out in the seventh, he gave up a home run to J.D. Martinez. Manager John Farrell called on Brad Ziegler, who got a strikeout and a grounder to short.

I thought Ziegler, who had thrown only seven pitches, might start the eighth, but Farrell tapped Matt Barnes, who walked two batters while also recording two outs. Craig Kimbrel was asked to get four outs. He retired Miguel Cabrera on a liner to left to end the eighth, stranding two Tigers. With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Justin Upton hit a long fly ball to center that Jackie Bradley could not catch. The ball hit near the top of the wall for a double. Kimbrel then struck out Casey McGehee to end the game.
Drew Pomeranz / Daniel Norris
Pedroia, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Ortiz, DH
Betts, RF
Ramirez, 1B
Bradley, CF
Hill, 3B
Benintendi, LF
Holaday, C
The Red Sox can move into first place with a win in Detroit and a Toronto loss in Cleveland. Boston has not been atop the East in about a month (July 22).

Picket Fence Linescores

Elias Says:
[Cleveland] chipped away at the White Sox on Thursday, scoring single runs in the 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th innings to win, 5-4, on Tyler Naquin's sacrifice fly. Only two other teams in major-league history have had a walkoff win by scoring once, and only once, in each of the final five innings in which they batted. The other teams to do that were the Red Sox in 1961 and the Orioles in 2014.
August 18, 2016
White Sox - 300 000 100 - 4  6  1
Cleveland - 000 011 111 - 5 12  0
May 10, 2014
Astros  - 011 000 001 0 - 4 11  0
Orioles - 000 001 111 1 - 5 13  1
July 30, 1961 (Game 1)
White Sox - 151 000 010 0 - 8 12  0
Red Sox   - 000 131 111 1 - 9 14  0
Here is another fun linescore from the 1961 Red Sox season:

June 18, 1961 (Game 1)
Senators - 000 142 005 - 12 13  1
Red Sox  - 000 212 008 - 13 11  1
The Red Sox won the nightcap on another walk-off, winning 6-5 in 13 innings.

August 19, 2016

G121: Red Sox 10, Tigers 2

Red Sox - 400 002 220 - 10 16  1
Tigers  - 020 000 000 -  2  4  0
First of all, the bullpen did not suck. After Rick Porcello (7-4-2-2-8, 105) departed, Heath Hembree and Fernando Abad each pitched one inning and each retired the Tigers in order, with Abad striking out two of his three batters in the ninth.

David Ortiz and Jackie Bradley hit two-run home runs in the first inning to get the Red Sox off on the good foot. Boston scored twice in the sixth on four straight singles, with Andrew Benintendi and Dustin Pedroia getting the RBI. Hanley Ramirez drove in four runs with a pair of doubles in the seventh and eighth innings, finishing the night 3-for-5.

The Blue Jays lost to Cleveland on Tyler Naquin's inside-the-park walk-off home run (right after Jose Ramirez had homered to tie the game at 2-2), so Boston is 0.5 GB. (In Baltimore, four of the first five Orioles batters in the first inning hit home runs - previously unprecedented in major league history - but the Astros ruined their night by winning 15-8.)
Rick Porcello / Michael Fulmer
Pedroia, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Ortiz, DH
Betts, RF
Ramirez, 1B
Bradley, CF
Leon, C
Holt, 3B
Benintendi, LF
Boston and Baltimore are both 1.5 games behind Toronto. The Orioles host the Astros and the Blue Jays are in Cleveland.

Alex Speier, Globe:
Why is there such an extreme disconnect between the public view of Red Sox manager Farrell – at least the loudest one – and that of the Red Sox organization? ...

Indeed, as much as there have been games where Farrell’s bullpen management has caused members of the organization to scratch their heads – if not throw rocks at their televisions at times – there hasn’t been any serious internal conversation in the Red Sox organization about changing the manager. Barring an extreme event like a 10-game losing streak that decimates the Sox’ postseason chances, there isn’t going to be, at least not for the rest of the season.

August 18, 2016

G120: Tigers 4, Red Sox 3

Red Sox - 000 100 020 - 3  9  0
Tigers  - 010 000 03x - 4 10  0
Looking at that linescore tells you a few things: (a) Clay Buchholz pitched very well (6-6-1-0-3, 81), the Red Sox rallied late to snap a 1-1 tie, and (c) a bullpen implosion gave the gave away in the bottom of the eighth. This time the fault lies with Junichi Tazawa and Brad Ziegler - and to manager John Farrell for relying on Taz in a high-leverage situation.

The Red Sox, facing Alex Wilson, took the lead in the eighth inning on three straight singles: Xander Bogaerts reached on an infield hit, Mookie Betts dumped a single into right, and Hanley Ramirez singled up the middle. Another run scored later in the inning on a wild pitch.

But just as Boston had done in the top half, so the Tigers did against Tazawa in the home half. Ian Kinsler singled to left. Erick Aybar doubled to right, Kinsler moving to third. Miguel Cabrera singled to center, scoring Kinsler. Three batters and three hits against Tazawa, and Brad Ziegler took over on the mound. Victor Martinez singled to right and Aybar scored, tying the game at 3-3. Ziegler walked J.D. Martinez, loading the bases with no outs. Ziegler bounced back, getting an out on a force play at the plate and striking out Jarrod Saltalamacchia. But he then walked Andrew Romine to force in the go-ahead run.

In the top of the ninth, facing Francisco Rodriguez, Travis Shaw walked and Brock Holt came in to run. Andrew Benintendi grounded into a fielder's choice, just beating the relay throw to first (and surviving a challenge by the Tigers). David Ortiz pinch-hit for Aaron Hill and singled to center, with Benintendi stopping at second. Dustin Pedroia pinch-ran for Ortiz. The Red Sox came up short, however, with Bogaerts grounding out to first and - with runners now at third and second - Mookie Betts lined out to second.

Sandy Leon homered in the fourth inning. ... The loss snapped Boston's six-game winning streak.

Clay Buchholz / Matt Boyd
Hill, 3B
Bogaerts, SS
Betts, RF
Ramirez, 1B
Bradley, CF
Leon, DH
Holaday, C
Marrero, 2B
Benintendi, LF

August 17, 2016

G119: Red Sox 8, Orioles 1 (6, rain)

Red Sox - 012 023 - 8 13  1
Orioles - 010 000 - 1  4  0
The Red Sox won their sixth straight game (a rain-shortened affair) and swept the two-game series at Camden Yards. Boston is now one game behind Toronto, while the Orioles dropped to third place (2 GB).

The Red Sox now make their way to Detroit for four games against the Tigers, with the first game Thursday afternoon.

Jackie Bradley doubled, homered and drove in four runs, while Mookie Betts singled twice, walked, stole a base, and scored three times. Brock Holt had two singles and a double in three at-bats.

Bradley was hit by a pitch in the second and later scored on Travis Shaw's single. After Baltimore tied the game in the bottom half, Bradley belted a two-run homer to center with two outs in the third to give Boston a 3-1 lead.

Betts singled and stole second to start the top of the fifth. With one out, Sandy Leon crushed a two-run dong to deep right. Holt followed with a double, but he was stranded.

With one out in the sixth, Xander Bogaerts singled and scored on David Ortiz's double to the wall in right-center. Betts singled and then he and Ortiz came home on Bradley's two-bagger to left-center.

David Price (6-4-1-0-4, 84) gave up a double to the first batter he faced, but other than Chris Davis's solo shot in the second, Price did not allow another Baltimore runner past first base.
David Price / Dylan Bundy
Pedroia, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Ortiz, DH
Betts, RF
Bradley, CF
Leon, C
Holt, 3B
Shaw, 1B
Benintendi, LF
Boston and Baltimore are tied for second place, 1 GB Toronto, who battered the Yankees 12-6 last night. (Update: The Blue Jays beat the Yankees 7-4 this afternoon, so the Red Sox and Orioles are both 1.5 GB as of the start of tonight's game.)

Eduardo Rodriguez, on the hamstring tightness that forced his exit from last night's game:
I felt it on one pitch before the strikeout to [Mark] Trumbo [in the fourth inning] — the pitch before. When I threw the pitch, I felt something get tight in there. When I came out for the fifth, I was feeling like it was getting worse so I didn't want to do something to something inside of there. I feel like we made the right decision before it got worse.
John Farrell:
I think we got this early. ... We checked him in between innings. There was no reduction of strength or range of motion. But it was clear the first two pitches he threw to start the fifth, he was not right. He was definitely favoring it so we got him out of the game at the time. ... I think we got it early enough to where it doesn't seem to be a significant restriction at this point. But we'll know more as we get through the coming days.
How has Mookie Betts clubbed 28 home runs this season?
Ah, shoot, I have no idea. Somehow it's going over the fence. Again, I'm going to continue to say I don't know why, but I'm just trying to put good swings on it and enjoy it.
Betts has been a beast against the Orioles this season:
In five games [at Camden Yards] this season, he has seven homers -- more than any opponent has hit in a single season in Baltimore since the Orioles arrived from St. Louis in 1954, according to ESPN Stats & Info. He's 10-for-21 (.476) with a 1.476 slugging percentage on Eutaw Street, and 20-for-47 (.426) with a 1.000 slugging percentage in 11 games against the Orioles overall this season.
Elias adds:
Over the last 50 years, only three other players had at least three multi-homer games as a visitor against a particular team in one season: Graig Nettles against the Indians in 1974 (three such games), David Nilsson versus the Twins in 1996 (three), and Carlos Delgado against the Mariners in 1999 (three).

In 11 games against the Orioles this season, Betts is hitting .426 (20-for-47) with eight home runs. The last Red Sox player with a .400 batting average and eight homers against one team over an entire season was Ted Williams versus the Indians in 1957. Williams hit .474 (27-for-57) with nine homers in 18 games against them that year.

Betts has seven home runs in five games at Camden Yards this season. Only three other players in major-league history hit seven homers in their first five games as a visitor at one park in a season: Lou Gehrig at Cleveland's League Park in 1930, Willie Mays at Milwaukee County Stadium in 1961, and Carlos Beltran at Wrigley Field in 2004.
The Mookie Betts Experience - Catch It!

August 16, 2016

G118: Red Sox 5, Orioles 3

Red Sox - 000 030 020 - 5  7  0
Orioles - 000 000 300 - 3  4  0
Mookie Betts mashed two home runs and drove in all five of Boston's runs. Betts now leads the team with 28 dongs. Betts has 14 RBI in his last four games. And the Red Sox have won five in a row.

Eduardo Rodriguez (4-0-0-2-7, 62) was superb, but he left the game two pitches into the fifth inning with tightness in his left hamstring. Matt Barnes kept the no-hit bid going into the seventh inning, when the Orioles ended up tying the game.

Betts actually had come up with the bases loaded in the third inning and flied to right. He made amends in the fifth. Andrew Benintendi doubled off the wall in right and Xander Bogaerts walked. David Ortiz struck out for the second out and Betts drilled the first pitch to left for three runs.

Baltimore batted around in the seventh. Barnes got the first out, but allowed a walk and a single. Fernando Abad came in and issued a walk to load the bases and then a two-run single. (In his short time with the Red Sox, Abad has permitted six of seven inherited runners to score.) Brad Ziegler was next and he ended up walking in a run, tying the game.

Boston took the lead back immediately. Ortiz singled to right and Betts homered into the second row of seats in left, just far enough to push the score to 5-3.

Ziegler surrendered a single to start the bottom of the eighth, but got a double play. After he hit a batter, Robbie Ross came in to strike out Chris Davis. Craig Kimbrel breezed through the ninth, with a strikeout, a fly to right, and a grounder to third.

Rodriguez issued only a two-out walk in the second inning through four frames. He struck out the side in the fourth. In the fifth, he threw two balls to Steve Pearce before coming out of the game.
Eduardo Rodriguez / Yovani Gallardo
Pedroia, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Ortiz, DH
Betts, RF
Bradley, CF
Hill, 3B Leon, C
Shaw, 1B
Leon, C Holt, 3B
Benintendi, LF
            W   L   PCT    GB   RUNDIFF
Orioles    66  51  .564   ---    +  38
Blue Jays  67  52  .563   ---    +  87
Red Sox    65  52  .556   1.0    + 104
Yankees    61  57  .517   5.5    -  29
Rays       48  69  .410  18.0    -  36
Also: Blue Jays at Yankees, 7 PM

August 15, 2016

G117: Red Sox 3, Cleveland 2

Red Sox   - 000 003 000 - 3 10  0
Cleveland - 000 100 010 - 2  6  0
Craig Kimbrel provided yet another white-knuckle ninth inning. Calling upon to uphold the Red Sox's one-run lead, the closer allowed a leadoff double to Francisco Lindor. Then he walked Mike Napoli, putting the potential winning run at first base.

Kimbrel rallied, striking out Carlos Santana and pinch-hitter Jason Kipnis. He fell behind Abraham Almonte 3-0, one pitch away from loading the bases. Kimbrel then got two strikes on Almonte, gave up a loud foul ball, and - on his 28th pitch of the inning - got Almonte to pop out to Pedroia.

Boston got their runs on home runs from David Ortiz (with Dustin Pedroia aboard) and Jackie Bradley.

Pomeranz: 7.2-5-2-2-6, 104. Fernand Abad relieved him in with a man on second in the bottom of the eighth and retired the one batter he faced.

On to Baltimore!
Drew Pomeranz / Josh Tomlin
Pedroia, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Ortiz, DH
Betts, RF
Bradley, CF
Hill, 3B
Shaw, 1B
Holaday, C
Benintendi, LF
Recalled: Infielders Deven Marrero and Marco Hernandez, and pitcher Heath Hembree.

August 14, 2016

Steven Wright Placed on Disabled List Before Long Road Trip

Steven Wright (right shoulder inflammation) has been placed on the disabled list, retroactive to August 8. The Red Sox hoped Wright would be able to start against the Tigers Thursday night, but Clay Buchholz will get the ball instead.

Wright:
It's just not progressing the way I thought it was going to. It just hurts, man. I don't want to go out there and throw with too much pain because I don't want to start compensating. If it's hurting as much as it has been on flat ground, you start adding the mound and all that adrenaline, the last thing I want to do is hurt myself even more.
The Red Sox begin a four-city, 11-game road trip tomorrow afternoon. Monday was originally scheduled as an off-day, but Boston has to make up April 7's postponed contest in Cleveland.

After that the Red Sox play two games in Baltimore, four in Detroit, and four in Tampa Bay. (From August 14-18, which includes this afternoon's home game, the team will play in four cities in five days for the first time since 1991.) It's all part of a grueling August schedule that has the Red Sox scheduled for 23 games in 23 days. On their next day off, September 1, they will be flying to California for a six-game, west coast trip.

Also, Hanley Ramirez was placed on the bereavement list (the reason was not stated) and is expected to return on Thursday. Reliever Roenis Elias was optioned back to Pawtucket. Corresponding moves have not been announced.

G116: Red Sox 16, Diamondbacks 2

Diamondbacks - 000 100 010 -  2  7  1
Red Sox      - 270 160 00x - 16 19  2
Mookie Betts hit three home runs and drove in a career-best eight runs. It was Betts's second three-HR game of the season; he also went deep three times on May 31 in Baltimore. The only other hitter in Red Sox history to have multiple three-HR games in one season is Ted Williams (1957: May 8 at Chicago and June 13 at Cleveland).

The Red Sox set a season-high in runs in winning the afternoon contest and sweeping the three-game series against Arizona (last in the NL West). Boston sent ten men to the plate in the second inning and quickly put the game out of reach against Zack Greinke, who recorded only five outs while giving up 10 hits and nine runs.

Betts crushed a two-run shot to left in the first (that sailed out of Fenway Park), a three-run blast into the Monster Seats in the second, and a three-run dong to left in the fifth. He also singled and scored in the fourth to end the day 4-for-5, with a career-best four runs scored. (In his other at-bats, he flied to right in the sixth and grounded to third in the eighth.)

In his first four plate appearances, Betts saw 10 pitches and swung at four of them:
1st: Ball, Ball, Home Run
2nd: Ball, Ball, Home Run
4th: Ball, Single
5th: Ball, Home Run
Betts and David Ortiz are now tied for the team lead in home runs, with 26. Betts has 84 RBI this year, second to Ortiz (90).

Dustin Pedroia went 5-for-6 and scored three times. It was the fifth five-hit game of Pedroia's career - which is the most of any Red Sox hitter in history - and second of 2016.

Hanley Ramirez went 3-for-4 with a double. ... Jackie Bradley homered and drove in three runs. ... Andrew Benintendi singled, doubled, and walked. ... Rick Porcello was sharp and economical: 7-3-1-0-4, 80.
Zack Greinke / Rick Porcello
Pedroia, 2B
Holt, SS
Betts, RF
Ortiz, DH
Ramirez, 1B
Bradley, CF
Hill, 3B
Leon, C
Benintendi, LF

August 13, 2016

G115: Red Sox 6, Diamondbacks 3

Diamondbacks - 000 210 000 - 3  5  1
Red Sox      - 001 032 00x - 6  8  1
The bottom third of the Red Sox order did the heavy lifting in Saturday night's victory. Sandy Leon, Brock Holt, and Andrew Benintendi combined to go 5-for-10 with a double, two home runs, six runs scored, and four RBI. Brad Ziegler also saved the day by striking out three Diamondbacks with the bases loaded in the eighth inning.

Leon began the bottom of the third with a single and was forced at second by Holt. Benintendi and Dustin Pedroia both singled, scoring Holt and putting runners at first and third with only one out. But Xander Bogaerts and Mookie Betts both struck out, ending the rally.

Clay Buchholz (4.1-3-3-3-1, 71) walked the leadoff batter in both the second and third innings, but thanks to two double plays, he faced the minimum nine batters through three. In the fourth, two hits, a walk, and a stolen base gave the Diamondbacks two runs, erasing Boston's early lead. Buchholz was pulled with one out in the fifth and a man on first; Robbie Ross allowed that inherited runner to score.

But the Red Sox rallied in the home half of the fifth. Leon led off with a home run to right. Holt hustled to second on an error by right fielder Socrates Brito. Benintendi doubled to center, tying the game at 3-3. Pedroia's grounder moved Benintendi to third and, after Bogaerts struck out, Betts singled Benintendi home, giving Boston a one-run lead once again.

Leon again got things going in the sixth. He walked with one out and watched as Holt hit a two-run shot to right.

Arizona threatened - or, rather, was allowed to threaten - in the eighth. Matt Barnes walked the first three batters of the inning, bringing the potential go-ahead run to the plate. But Ziegler came in and struck out the next three batters on only 10 pitches (css/ssfs/cfs) to leave the bases loaded.

Craig Kimbrel pitched a perfect ninth, with a strikeout, a fly to right, and a grounder to first.
Archie Bradley / Clay Buchholz
Pedroia, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Betts, RF
Ortiz, DH
Ramirez, 1B
Shaw, 3B
Leon, C
Holt, LF
Benintendi, CF
Buchholz has a plan:
I'm going to take it and simplify it, treat it like an extended relief appearance. I've actually gotten pretty comfortable coming out of the pen. I feel good. I'm not eliminating pitches. Sometimes as a starter you have five days to prepare for the team you're going to face and you're going over scouting reports. You start reading up on them. Things like guys hitting .400 against the changeup so you eliminate the changeup out of the equation. I haven't been looking at anything like that. ... I'm not eliminating pitches and I've been able to go out and throw a lot of strikes. It's more what I want to do rather than letting the hitter determine what I'm going to throw him. I battled that early in my career and I let that get to me early in my career. The years I've gone out and had good years are years I'm going out knowing what I want to do and I'm throwing the pitches I want to throw regardless of who's hitting.

This Just In ...

August 12, 2016

Most Extra-Base Hits As A Red Sock

Top 11 Red Sox Players, Career Extra-Base Hits
                     2B    3B     HR     XBH
Carl Yastrzemski    646    59    452    1157
Ted Williams        525    71    521    1117
David Ortiz         513    16    471    1000
Dwight Evans        474    72    379     925
Jim Rice            373    79    382     834
Bobby Doerr         381    89    223     693
Wade Boggs          422    47     85     554
Manny Ramirez       256     7    274     537
Jason Varitek       306    14    193     513
Dustin Pedroia      367    15    130     512
Nomar Garciaparra   279    50    178     507
These are the only Red Sox players with more than 500 career extra-base hits.

Yaz, TSW, Rice, Doerr, Pedroia, and Varitek (have) played their entire major league careers with Boston.

G114: Red Sox 9, Diamondbacks 4

Diamondbacks - 200 010 001 - 4 12  2
Red Sox      - 440 000 10x - 9 11  0
Hanley Ramirez drove in six runs by hitting two three-run homers and David Price overcame a worrisome first inning to pitch seven more innings: 8-10-3-1-8, 114.

As far as Boston's Bullpen Adventures for Friday night, there was only the ninth. Even so, Fernando Abad managed to anger and annoy Red Sox fans. Abad got two outs on a liner to shortstop and a strikeout. Then he allowed a double, a run-scoring single, and a four-pitch walk. Abad finally got the third out on a fly to right.

The game did not begin in a way that inspired confidence in Price. His first pitch of the night was clubbed to center field by Jean Segura. Jackie Bradley slipped and fell, and the ball rolled for a triple. Bradley immediately make amends, however, catching Phil Gosselin's fly ball (hit on Price's second pitch of the game) and firing home. Catcher Bryan Holaday then threw to third to nab Segura. But then Price gave up a single to Paul Goldschmidt and a two-run bomb to Rickie Weeks Jr.

Dustin Pedroia reached on an error to start the home half of the first. After Xander Bogaerts struck out and Mookie Betts popped out, David Ortiz singled, and Ramirez homered to left. The big blast was not a rally killer, however, as Bradley reached on an error, went to second on Aaron Hill's single and scored on Holaday's single to center. Boston continued to batter Patrick Corbin (1.2-9-8-0-2, 55) in the second. Pedroia reached on an infield single and Bogaerts singled to left. Betts popped out again, but Ortiz singled home a run. Then Ramirez donged to center for an 8-2 Red Sox lead.

It was Ramirez's second six-RBI game of the season. He drove in six runs with three home runs on July 20 against the Giants.

Working with a six-run lead, Price did not have clean innings; he allowed two baserunners in the fourth, a solo homer in the fifth, and two baserunners in both the sixth and seventh. But he was able to kept the Snakes off the board (except for the homer, of course).

David Ortiz belted the first pitch of the seventh to center for his 26th home run of the season. The home run was Ortiz's 1,000th extra-base hit with the Red Sox. Only Carl Yastrzemski (1,157) and Ted Williams (1,117) have more. Ortiz finished the night 3-for-4, with three runs scored and two RBI.

Pedroia left the game in the third with "flu-like" symptoms.

Patrick Corbin / David Price
Pedroia, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Betts, RF
Ortiz, DH
Ramirez, 1B
Bradley, CF
Hill, 3B
Holaday, C
Benintendi, LF

Brewers Score In Every Inning Against Atlanta

August 11, 2016:
Atlanta - 000 002 100 -  3  9  1
Brewers - 211 113 11x - 11 14  0
This did not set or tie a National League record, however, because four visiting NL teams have scored in all nine innings.

June 29, 1897
Chicago Colts       - 357 121 278 - 36 32  1
Louisville Colonels - 001 050 100 -  7 14  9
June 1, 1923
New York Giants       - 421 155 121 - 22 23  0
Philadelphia Phillies - 140 110 010 -  8 15  0
September 13, 1964
St. Louis Cardinals - 212 221 311 - 15 18  1
Chicago Cubs        - 100 001 000 -  2  8  7
May 5, 1999
Colorado Rockies - 111 121 222 - 13 18  1
Chicago Cubs     - 023 000 010 -  6 10  3
News stories said that this was the 19th time since 1900 that a team has scored in every inning. But because no American League team has ever scored in all nine innings, most of those games were by the home team batting in only eight innings.

August 11, 2016

G113: Yankees 4, Red Sox 2

Yankees - 001 000 030 - 4  6  0
Red Sox - 100 010 000 - 2  9  1
For the second consecutive night, the Red Sox bullpen blew a lead and lost the game. After Eduardo Rodriguez pitched seven strong innings (7-3-1-1-6, 93), Brad Ziegler allowed three hits and three runs in the eighth, two of the runs scoring when Andrew Benintendi lost Jacoby Ellsbury's bases-loaded, opposite-field line drive to left in the lights.

Boston made a little noise in the bottom of the ninth against Dellin Betances, who did not have his best stuff. Brock Holt worked the count full and struck out, swinging at and missing a high pitch that was clearly ball four. Sandy Leon (3-for-4, two doubles) doubled to right and went to third on a wild pitch. Benintendi walked. With the potential winning run at the plate, Dustin Pedroia struck out swinging and Xander Bogaerts was called out on strikes.

Considering the bullpen headaches in the first two games of this series, I'm not sure why John farrell lifted Rodriguez after only 93 pitches. In hindsight, naturally, Rodriguez should have started the eighth. Instead, it was Ziegler, who allowed a leadoff infield single to Gary Sanchez. Dustin Pedroia's throw was low and Hanley Ramirez stepped back to field it at first base and was run over by Sanchez. Ramirez stayed in the game for the rest of the inning, but did not bat in the bottom half of the eighth. After striking out pinch-hitter Mark Teixeira, Zielger allowed singles to Aaron Hicks and Brett Gardner, loading the bases. Ellsbury lined a 2-0 pitch to left, which sailed over Benintendi's glove (he seemed to duck as the ball came in) and rolled to the wall. Alex Rodriguez brought in the inning's third run with a groundout to the catcher.

Reporteth the Post:
Boston took a first-inning lead when David Ortiz lined a ground-rule double to right and scored on Hanley Ramirez's single to center. New York tied the game on Austin Romine's solo home run. Ramirez's double in the fifth scored Bogaerts and gave the Red Sox a 2-1 lead.
Michael Pineda / Eduardo Rodriguez

August 10, 2016

G112: Yankees 9, Red Sox 4

Yankees - 000 010 530 - 9 15  0
Red Sox - 001 102 000 - 4  9  0


This loss to the hapless Yankees in which a 4-1 lead turned into a 9-4 loss - was an utter shitshow that lasted an interminable 4:15. And it could turn out to be one of the season's worst losses. David Ortiz fouled a pitch off his right shin just below the knee in the ninth inning. Big Papi was in considerable pain and needed assistance getting off the field. He moved very slowly in making his way down the dugout steps. (Also, Mookie Betts left the game after six innings with stiffness in his calf.)

(Update: Initial x-rays on Ortiz's shin were negative, ruling out a fracture. Manager John Farrell said the shin was already bruised from a foul ball several games ago.)

The Red Sox squandered numerous scoring chances in the middle innings, leaving nine men on base over four innings. They stranded two men in the third, two in the fourth, three in the fifth, and two in the sixth. In the fifth, they loaded the bases with no one out and (yet again) could not score. Three of their four runs scored not on hits, but on fielder's choice grounders.

Still, Boston led 2-0 and 4-1 and Drew Pomeranz did all right (5.1-6-1-1-5, 93). Clay Buchholz, who will start on Saturday because Steven Wright has some shoulder inflammation from a pinch-running adventure in Dodger Stadium last Sunday, got out of trouble in the sixth by getting a double play. Then Red Sox fans were treated to this:
Matt Barnes: 4 batters faced, 3 hits, 3 runs allowed
Fernando Abad: 3 batters faced, 2 hits, 2 runs allowed
Junichi Tazawa: 5 batters faced, 2 hits, 2 walks, 2 runs allowed
Robbie Ross: 5 batters faced, 1 hit, 1 walk, 1 run allowed, 3 wild pitches
The Yankees sent ten men to the plate in the crucial seventh inning. After getting the second out, the Red Sox had 20 chances to end the inning. By the time they did, New York led 6-4. (Alex Rodriguez pinch-hit during the seventh and was loudly booed both while on deck and after he flew out to right.)

And all this happened on a night that the Yankees' starter left after one inning. Natahn Eovaldi retired the Red Sox in order in the first, but left with "elbow discomfort".  Joe Girardi used seven relievers over the next eight innings.

Betts had two doubles and an RBI before leaving the game. ... Sandy Leon had two singles, a walk, and two runs scored. ... Ortiz walked three times, two of them intentionally. ... Andrew Benintendi, Dustin Pedroia, and Xander Bogaerts drove in one run each.
Nathan Eovaldi / Drew Pomeranz
Pedroia, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Betts, RF
Ortiz, DH
Ramirez, 1B
Bradley, CF
Shaw, 3B
Leon, C
Benintendi, LF

August 9, 2016

G111: Red Sox 5, Yankees 3

Yankees - 011 000 001 - 3  7  0
Red Sox - 002 030 00x - 5  9  1
Andrew Benintendi went 3-for-3 and scored twice and Dustin Pedroia drove in three runs with a pair of doubles. Rick Porcello (8-7-2-1-6, 110) turned in another strong outing. Craig Kimbrel nearly threw it all away in the ninth inning, walking four of the six batters he faced before Matt Barnes struck out Mark Teixeira with the bases loaded to end the game.

Porcello allowed five of his seven hits in the first three innings. A leadoff single in the first did no harm, but doubles by Starlin Castro and Chase Headley in the second gave the Yankees their first run. Brett Gardner doubled to start the third and scored on Brian McCann's single to put New York up 2-0.

The Red Sox got to Luis Severino (4.1-7-5-0-3, 85) in the bottom of the third. Benintendi singled to left and went to third on Mookie Betts's double off the Wall. Pedroia followed with a game-tying, two-run double into the right field corner.

In the fifth, Sandy Leon tripled to right as the ball skipped past Aaron Hicks in the corner. Benintendi then drove a ball to dead center that hit the yellow line on the Wall. Leon scored to give the Red Sox a lead they would not relinquish. The play was initially called a double, then the umpires changed it to a home run. Benintendi circled the bases and received congratulations in the dugout on his first major league dong. But Yankees manager Joe Girardi challenged that call and, after an extremely long wait, the call was reversed. The ruling was that unlike the foul lines and foul poles, hitting the yellow line means the ball is still "in play" and to be a home run, the ball has to clearly hit to the right of the line. (However, there was a question of whether the ball caromed off the Wall onto the center field ledge, which may have meant it was gone.)

On NESN, both Dave O'Brien and Jerry Remy had absolutely no idea about this Fenway Park ground rule. Good work, guys.

So with the Red Sox rookie back on second, Betts grounded back to the mound before Pedroia doubled to the gap in right-center. After Girardi went to his bullpen, calling on former Boston pitcher Tommy Layne, David Ortiz singled off the Wall and Pedroia's scored the fifth run for the Red Sox.

Jackie Bradley may have saved the team's bacon in the seventh. Headley hit a ball off the Wall in left-center than caromed off the top of the scoreboard. Bradley chased the ball back towards center field, grabbed it, turned and fired a perfect throw to third, where Brock Holt put the tag on Headley. It was an amazing throw and gave Bradley his 11st assist of the year.

Porcello had some words for Headley and pointed to his eyes (was Porcello calling Headley out for sneaking looks at the catcher at the plate to get pitch location?) and a now-angry Headley started towards the mound. Benches and bullpens emptied but nothing much happened beyond some shouting. No one was ejected. With two outs, Travis Shaw made an error and Gardner doubled for his third hit. Porcello bore down and retired Jacoby Ellsbury on a fly to right.

Kimbrel struggled in the ninth, throwing 37 pitches (21 balls and 16 strikes). He needed eight pitches to strike out Didi Gregorius and then he issued a full-count walk to Headley. During these at-bats, the Fenway crowd was chanting "We Want A-Rod". Gary Sanchez hit a bullet right at Benintendi in left for the second out. Then the "fun" began. Hicks walked on seven pitches. Manager John Farrell probably should have made a move at this point, but he instead sent pitching coach Carl Willis out to chat. To say what - "Yo, stop walking guys"?

After Willis's advice, Kimbrel promptly fell behind Gardner 3-0 before walking him and loading the bases. Still no sign of Farrell. Ellsbury then walked on seven pitches, forcing in a run, which is (apparently) when it is okay to remove your closer. And so Barnes came in and got Teixeira looking at a 2-2 strike to end the game. Saves are stupid, but holds are even dumber - and Kimbrel picked up his first hold of the season for his superlative work in holding onto his team's lead.

Benintendi also singled in the seventh, making him 8-for-16 in his short career. His OPS of 1.063 is higher than Ortiz's 1.013!
Luis Severino / Rick Porcello
Betts, RF
Pedroia, 2B
Ortiz, DH
Ramirez, 1B
Bradley, CF
Shaw, 3B
Holt, SS
Leon, C
Benintendi, LF
The Red Sox are not planning any ceremonies for the soon-to-be retired Alex Rodriguez.


Kevin Millar, on the reception that Slappy McBluelips will receive: "Boo. Boo. Boo. You won't see a standing ovation. You'll see 'boo.' This is still a rivalry. If you wear the pinstripes and you come to Fenway Park, you're getting booed."


Hal Steinbrenner would not rule out a tribute to Alex Rodriguez in Monument Park. "He's done a lot for this organization on the field through the years, but also off the field that people don't know about. He's been a great mentor."


Anthony McCarron, Daily News: "Why A-Rod's No. 13 Should Hang In Monument Park"

August 8, 2016

Schadenfreude 196 (A Continuing Series)

Alex Rodriguez will retire at the end of this week, after a three-game series at Fenway Park and one home game against Tampa Bay.

The Daily News and Post provided coverage as only they can.



August 7, 2016

G110: Dodgers 8, Red Sox 5

Red Sox - 100 103 000 - 5  6  3
Dodgers - 000 330 20x - 8  9  0
Andrew Benintendi went 3-for-4 and drove in the first two runs of his major league career.

David Price (5-6-6-5-3, 100) turned in yet another poor performance (though only three of the runs he allowed were earned).

David Price / Brandon McCarthy
Betts, RF
Bradley, CF
Bogaerts, SS
Pedroia, 2B
Shaw, 1B
Holt, 3B
Holaday, C
Benintendi, LF
Price, P

August 6, 2016

G109: Dodgers 3, Red Sox 0

Red Sox - 000 000 000 - 0  5  0
Dodgers - 010 020 00x - 3 11  0
Boston managed only seven base runners (five hits and two walks) and three of those seven came in the first inning. Mookie Betts and Brock Holt both singled. With the table set, Xander Bogaerts struck out and David Ortiz grounded out. Jackie Bradley walked, loading the bases, but Sandy Leon grounded back to the mound.

Betts singled to open the third inning, but was forced at second and his replacement was stranded there. Boston's other two hits came with two outs: Travis Shaw's fourth inning single and Bogaerts's single in the eighth. Leon led off the seventh with a walk, but the next three hitters struck out.

Eduardo Rodriguez could not get out of the fifth inning (4.1-8-3-1-5, 88).
Eduardo Rodriguez / Ross Stripling
Betts, RF
Holt, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Ortiz, 1B
Bradley, CF
Leon, C
Shaw, 3B
Benintendi, LF
Rodriguez, P

August 5, 2016

G108: Red Sox 9, Dodgers 0

Red Sox - 011 200 050 - 9 10  0
Dodgers - 000 000 000 - 0  3  2
Steven Wright (9-3-0-1-9, 119) pitched his fourth complete game of the season as the Red Sox cruised to victory.

Sandy Leon (2-for-3) drove in four runs with a single and a home run. ... Mookie Betts went 3-for-5, with a home run and two RBI. ... Leon, Jackie Bradley, and Aaron Hill scored two runs each.

Dustin Pedroia fouled a ball off his left shin in the third inning, and left the game in the fourth. Initial x-rays were negative, but manager John Farrell said Pedroia has suffered a "severe" bruise.
Steven Wright / Scott Kazmir
Betts, RF
Pedroia, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Ramirez, 1B
Bradley, CF
Hill, 3B
Leon, C
Brentz, LF
Wright, P
Get the home team's feed: Red Sox baseball with Vin Scully at the microphone. Perfect!

August 4, 2016

G107: Red Sox 3, Mariners 2 (11)

Red Sox  - 010 010 000 01 - 3 13  0
Mariners - 000 020 000 00 - 2  6  0

Drew Pomeranz / Ariel Miranda
Betts, RF
Bogaerts, SS
Ortiz, DH
Pedroia, 2B
Bradley, CF
Hill, 3B
Shaw, 1B
Hanigan, C
Brentz, LF
In three starts with Boston, Pomeranz has a 7.53 ERA and a 1.674 WHIP.

August 3, 2016

G106: Mariners 3, Red Sox 1

Red Sox  - 000 000 001 - 1  7  0
Mariners - 010 001 10x - 3  4  0
Andrew Benintendi collected his first two major league hits, but Hisashi Iwakuma (7.1-5-0-0-7, 97) and two relievers put the Boston bats into a deep sleep on Wednesday night. Boston fell 3 GB the Orioles in the AL East.

Rick Porcello (8-4-3-1-8, 112) allowed three solo home runs: Nelson Cruz obliterated a pitch to left in the second, Mike Zunino went deep to center in the sixth, and Adam Lind cranked one to right in the seventh. Seattle's other three base runners were Kyle Seager's second inning walk, Norichika Aoki's HBP in the sixth, and Zunino's single in the eighth.

In the late innings, the Red Sox had the chance to get back in the game. Benintendi's one-out single in the eighth ended Iwakuma's night and Drew Storen took over. Mookie Betts singled, bringing the potential tying run to the plate. But Brock Holt popped to shortstop and Xander Bogaerts flied to deep left.

Facing Edwin Diaz in the ninth, Jackie Bradley singled with one out. Aaron Hill was plunked and, with Travis Shaw batting, both runners moved up on a wild pitch. Shaw was ahead in the count 3-0, but then looked at a strike and grounded out to second, with Bradley scoring and Hill taking third. Sandy Leon also got ahead 3-0, but just like Shaw, he took a strike and grounded to second, ending the game.

Benintendi's first hit came with one out in the third, when he sliced an off-speed pitch to the opposite (left) field. He struck out in the fifth.
Rick Porcello / Hisashi Iwakuma
Betts, RF
Holt, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Ortiz, DH
Bradley, CF
Hill, 3B
Shaw, 1B
Leon, C
Benintendi, LF
Mookie Betts was named AL Player of the Month for July. In 23 games, Betts batted .368 with 15 runs scored, 10 doubles, five home runs, 15 RBI, and five stolen bases. Among American League in July, Betts was first in doubles and extra-base hits (16), second in hits and batting average, third in stolen bases and slugging percentage (.653), and fifth in on-base percentage (.415). ESPNs Mark Simon writes that in addition to Betts's superlative hitting, Mookie was also the majors' defensive player of the month as well, with 11 defensive runs saved.

August 2, 2016

G105: Mariners 5, Red Sox 4

Red Sox  - 100 200 010 - 4  6  0
Mariners - 000 000 05x - 5  8  0

David Price / Wade LeBlanc
Betts, RF
Pedroia, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Ortiz, DH
Ramirez, 1B
Bradley, CF
Hill, 3B
Leon, C
Brentz, LF
To make room on the roster for outfielder Andrew Benintendi and pitcher Fernando Abad, the Red Sox today designated for assignment Tommy Layne and Michael Martinez.

Andrew Benintendi Called Up From AA, In Seattle Tonight

Jason Mastrodonato, Evan Drellich, Herald:
Top prospect Andrew Benintendi is to meet the team in Seattle today, the Red Sox announced last night, setting up the addition of one of the best players in the minor leagues to an already top-shelf offense. Benintendi is to skip Triple-A Pawtucket. President of baseball operation Dave Dombrowski said earlier this season he has no fear jumping a prospect from Double-A, if the prospect is ready. ...

Benintendi, 22, is a left-handed hitter and was the team’s first-round draft pick at No. 7 overall just a year ago. After being named the Golden Spikes winner as the best player in college baseball at the University of Arkansas, he made a giant splash his first year as a professional, hitting .313 with a .972 OPS and 11 homers with 10 stolen bases in 54 games between Lowell and Greenville.

He hit .341 with with a .976 OPS over 34 games with Salem before he was promoted to Portland earlier this year. He was hitting .295 with an .872 OPS in Portland.
Scott Lauber, ESPN:
After refusing to include Benintendi in any deals before the trade deadline, the Red Sox plan to call up their 2015 first-round draft pick and top outfield prospect from Double-A Portland on Tuesday to join their road trip in Seattle, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski confirmed to ESPN late Monday night. ...

Benintendi was ranked No. 3 by ESPN in Keith Law's midseason Top 50 prospects.
Benintendi is expected to make his major league debut Wednesday night.

August 1, 2016

G104: Red Sox 2, Mariners 1

Red Sox  - 000 000 011 - 2  5  0
Mariners - 000 000 100 - 1  4  0
Aaron Hill's first home run as a member of the Red Sox tied the game in the eighth and Mookie Betts's blast in the ninth - his 22nd of the year - gave Boston its second consecutive late-inning come-from-behind win.

The Red Sox moved into a tie with the Blue Jays for second place, 1 GB the Orioles.

Eduardo Rodriguez (6.1-3-1-2-6, 101) was superb, allowing only two Seattle baserunners through six innings. The Red Sox had caught a break in the bottom of the sixth. With one out, Shawn O'Malley dropped down a bunt and catcher Sandy Leon pounced on it. Leon's throw hit O'Malley in the ass. and the ball rolled towards right field. O'Malley raced to third, but was ruled out for interference.

With one out in the bottom of the seventh, Robinson Cano, who had Seattle's only hit to that point (a fourth-inning single), doubled to the wall in right-center. After Rodriguez walked Nelson Cruz, Dae-Ho Lee doubled to right-center, scoring Cano. Robbie Ross came in from the bullpen and his first pitch must have grazed a thread on Kyle Seager's uniform because the home plate umpire sent him to first base. With the sacks loaded, Ross struck out both Franklin Gutierrez and Chris Iannetta to put out the fire.

Facing James Paxton (8-4-1-0-6, 107), who was equally brilliant on the mound, with one out in the eighth, Hill lined a high fastball to left for a game-tying home run.

Junichi Tazawa pitched the bottom of the eighth and got into, and out of, a jam. With one out, pinch-hitter Norichika Aoki grounded a single to center. He took second on a wild pitch and went to third on a groundout (a very nice back-handed pick at first by Hanley Ramirez that saved a run). With two outs, Tazawa intentionally walked Cano to face Cruz (2-for-11 against Taz). Tazawa fell behind 2-0 but came back to strike Cruz out swinging.

Steve Cishek took over for Paxton in the top of the ninth and threw a high, inside fastball on 1-0 to Betts, and Mookie turned on it in the blink of an eye. Like Hill's shot, this one was a line drive that disappeared beyond the fence in left. (In addition to his home run, Betts also doubled.)

In the ninth, Seattle went to its bench against Craig Kimbrel. The just-activated Boston closer made an excellent play on pinch-hitter Seth Smith's dribbler, throwing a seed to Ramirez at first just in time. Kimbrel then struck out Seager, but a wild pitch put Seager on first. Pinch-hitter Adam Lind struck out on three pitches, but then Kimbrel walked pinch-hitter Mike Zunino. He recovered, though, to strike out O'Malley to end the game.

Eduardo Rodriguez / James Paxton
Betts, RF
Pedroia, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Ortiz, DH
Ramirez, 1B
Bradley, CF
Hill, 3B
Leon, C
Brentz, LF
The Red Sox activated Craig Kimbrel and sent Joe Kelly to Pawtucket.

Xander Bogaerts, on yesterday's come-from-behind win:
We've been through a lot these past few days, the past week or so, week-plus. Been through a lot of tough losses. This was a special one. It can definitely change the whole season around for us.
Three-way race in the AL East:
BAL ---
TOR 0.5
BOS 1.5
Boston still has nine games against the Orioles, and six against the Blue Jays (including the final three games of the season).