September 29, 2020

Wild Card Series (Best-Of-Three)

The four American League Wild Card Series begin today:

ALWC G1: Astros at Twins, 2 PM (All Times ET)

ALWC G1: White Sox at Athletics, 3 PM

ALWC G1: Blue Jays at Rays, 5 PM

ALWC G1: Yankees at Cleveland, 7 PM

I'm not a fan of an expanded postseason, where more teams made the postseason (16) than not (14), but Wednesday's schedule is pretty clearly made for baseball junkies (game/series threads):

NLWC G1: Reds at Atlanta, 12 PM

ALWC G2: Astros at Twins, 1 PM

NLWC G1: Marlins at Cubs, 2 PM

ALWC G2: White Sox at Athletics, 3 PM

ALWC G2: Blue Jays at Rays, 4 PM

NLWC G1: Cardinals at Padres, 5 PM

ALWC G2: Yankees at Cleveland, 7 PM

NLWC G1: Brewers at Dodgers, 10 PM

No travel days in this round. The home teams are hosting all of the games.

Craig Calcaterra, Cup of Coffee, September 29, 2020:

Dodgers: The best and most balanced team in the field by far. As I said yesterday, if you extrapolate their win total to a 162-game season, they'd have been 116-46. If you extrapolate out their run differential to 162, it’d be +360. No team has ever won more than 116 games in a season. Only two teams have ever had run differentials better than 360, and they are the two teams most commonly ranked as The Greatest Team of All Time, the 1927 and 1939 Yankees. I'm not saying the Dodgers are those guys, and obviously their greatness is a bit hard to quantify because it was such a short season, but the 2020 Dodgers are a truly special club. But it's also a club that lost two games in a row four times and lost two out of three games seven times in the 2020 season. Losing two of three happens to even the most dominant of teams, and now this dominant team is being tossed into a best two-out-of-three opening round. Shit could happen. Shit can always happen in three games. . . .

Rays: You know their deal by now: amazing depth, a strong and versatile next-man-up bullpen, the ability to mash lefties with Brandon Lowe and Willy Adames leading the charge, and excellent defense and strategy and all that has come to define the Rays Brand.™ In this short opening series, of course, they get to pitch Blake Snell and Tyler Glasnow in two of the three games, so trying to punch them out early before the longer rounds when that depth and all of those arms are really gonna create problems for opponents is gonna be a tall, tall order. . . .

Cleveland: This seems like the team no one should want to face in the first round because they go 1-2-3 better than the Reds and better than anyone, what with AL Cy Young presumptive Shane Bieber, Carlos Carrasco and Zach Plesac. Their fourth option, Triston McKenzie, would easily be in a lot of team's first three and here he'll be a strong presence out of the pen (and another starting obstacle in later rounds if they advance). The problem, obviously, is offense. They have the worst OPS of any team in the postseason. José Ramírez will likely win the AL MVP but it's slim pickings after him. They'll have to win low-scoring games or hope that someone steps up in ways they never did, outside of Ramírez, from July through September.

Yankees: They draw Cleveland, and it's gonna be tough. D.J. LeMahieu and Luke Voit are gonna get theirs, but there are a lot more questions in this Yankees lineup than we've seen in recent years. Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton will play, but both are Tin Man-rusty. If either of them or Gary Sánchez get hot, look out, the Yankees are a totally different team. If not, the Yankees are going to need Gerrit Cole to come up big against Bieber in Game 1 and then hope their pen and their two big bats solve Cleveland's other arms. They've just been so damn streaky this year that, frankly, I could see them turning into a postseason buzzsaw or bowing out by Thursday. Maybe the hardest team to handicap in this whole tournament. . . .

So, Predictions?

No.

I mean it, no.

It's kind of insane to pretend you can predict a best of three between any two big league teams, even when one is great and one is terrible. When most of those matchups are between all pretty decent teams, well Christ, you're clearly just guessing.

Sure. . . . I agree. . . . Nevertheless . . .

ALWC: Cleveland over Yankees in 2



September 28, 2020

Alex Rodriguez Admits He's Haunted Every Day By 2004 Yankees Choke

I've lost years of my life and have gray hairs with '04. There's not a day of my life that I don't think about '04, and it haunts you forever.

Alex Rodriguez

2020 Postseason Bracket (With All Advertisements Erased)

 




September 27, 2020

Ron Roenicke Will Not Return As Manager In 2021

The Red Sox have said Ron Roenicke will not return as manager in 2021.

Chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom:

Throughout this difficult season, Ron's consistency and professionalism kept the environment in our clubhouse productive and gave all of our players room to grow and develop. While we believe that, moving forward, we will benefit from new leadership and new energy, that does not diminish how strongly we feel about Ron. He is a man of the highest character who cares about our players and the Red Sox organization. As bench coach, he helped this team win a world championship. As manager, he showed poise and leadership in navigating an extremely challenging year. We are grateful for all of his contributions in our uniform.

There is already speculation about the return of Alex Cora, who was fired after MLB's investigation determined he was a key figure in the 2017 Astros sign-stealing scheme. A similar investigation into improper use of technology by the 2018 Red Sox stated Cora had no knowledge of any wrongdoing.

After last night's loss, Roenicke talked about his situation:

It really hasn't been unsettling. If I was just starting out as a young manager, I guess it would be a little bit unsettling. I'm sure it would be. But I think because of all the things that I've been through, I realize there's a process, and I realize there's timing differences the way different organizations do things. Do I like to know either way? Of course I'd like to know either way. But I think whatever happens, I'm going to be fine. I feel like this year, as difficult as it was, I thought (it) went well. And on my end, try to do everything I can to make things work out. It wasn't all baseball as we all know this year. Sometimes a lot of other things came up.

G60: Red Sox 9, Atlanta 1

Red Sox - 100 110 501 - 9 15  0
Atlanta - 100 000 000 - 1  7  0 
Jackie Bradley, in perhaps his last game as a Red Sock, singled, doubled, and homered, and scored two runs. 

Jonathan Araúz had three RBI and three hits, including his first home run of the year, which came in the season's final inning. Xander Bogaerts and J.D Martinez also hit home runs.

Nick Pivetta's (5-4-1-2-5, 92) day was blemished only by a first-inning solo dong. 

The Red Sox finished the shortened season 24-36 (.400), 16 GB and in fifth/last place. Over 162 games, a .400 winning percentage would equal a 65-97 record. It's the team's worst winning percentage since 1965 (62-100, .383).
Nick Pivetta / Bryse Wilson

Bradley, CF
Devers, 3B
Bogaerts, SS
Martinez, DH
Plawecki, C
Dalbec, 1B
Chavis, LF
Lin, RF
Araúz, 2B
 
The Red Sox have always won at least one extra-inning game in every season of their existence. (In 1936, they won only one (1-10).) Playing 60 games in 2020 means comparing counting stats with those of any other season in baseball history is pointless (it's a bit like comparing batters' postseason totals from the 2000s against the 1940s), but the Red Sox are 0-4 in extras this year.

These are the seedings for both leagues. Four National League teams are fighting for two playoff spots: Cardinals, Giants, Brewers, and Phillies. All games begin at 3 PM today.
American League
1   - Rays
2-3 - Twins / White Sox / Athletics
4   - Twins / White Sox / Cleveland
5   - Yankees / Blue Jays
6   - Astros
7   - White Sox / Cleveland
8   - Yankees / Blue Jays

National League
1   - Dodgers
2   - Atlanta
3   - Cubs
4   - Padres
5+6 - Cardinals / Reds / Marlins
7+8 - Cardinals / Reds / Brewers / Giants / Phillies

September 26, 2020

G59: Red Sox 8, Atlanta 2

Red Sox - 080 000 000 - 8  8  1
Atlanta - 000 010 010 - 2  6  1
Christian Vázquez's grand slam capped an eight-run second inning for the Red Sox. Earlier in the inning, Bobby Dalbec hit a two-run shot.

Tanner Houck (6-3-1-3-10, 94) finally allowed an earned run. He also became the ninth pitcher in Red Sox history to have a 10+-strikeout game within his first three career starts. Alex Spier tweeted that the most recent three (Henry Owens, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Jon Lester) cover "a broad spectrum of outcomes".

Houck's 15 consecutive innings without giving up an earned run is the longest career-opening streak by a Red Sox starter since Vaughan Eshelman's 18 innings in 1995. Houch is only the 13th major league pitcher to allow no more than one earned run in 15+ innings through three career starts.

Atlanta's Tucker Davidson (1.2-3-7-4-2, 53) began his debut by striking out his first two batters. But he was unable to get out of the second inning.

Davidson retired Vázquez (3-for-5) on a first-pitch fly out to left before walking Jackie Bradley on four pitches. Dalbec golfed a low full-count pitch to deep left-center for his eighth homer of the year. Michael Chavis was safe on an infield error and Christian Arroyo singled to center. Alex Verdugo walked, loading the bases. Rafael Devers grounded to short and Vedugo was forced at second, with Chavis scoring. Xander Bogaerts's single scored Arroyo, making it 4-0. Davidson walked J.D. Martinez before being pulled. 

Grant Dayton threw two high pitches to Vázquez and the Red Sox catcher smoked the second one to deep left for his second career grand slam.
Tanner Houck / Tucker Davidson

Verdugo, RF
Devers, 3B
Bogaerts, SS
Martinez, DH
Vázquez, C
Bradley, CF
Dalbec, 1B
Chavis, LF
Arroyo, 2B
 
Tucker Davidson will be making his major league debut.   

Schadenfreude 273 (A Continuing Series)



 George A. King III, Post:

Friday night's 4-3 loss in 10 innings guaranteed the Yankees will be the visiting team against any club in the best-of-three wild-card series that opens Tuesday regardless of where it is played.

That means the Yankees, who are 21-8 at home and 11-18 away from The Bronx, will chase the World Series title entirely on the road. ...

Based on the way they bungled their way through Friday night's activity, winning a World Series seems like a longshot. Not only didn't the Yankees hit, they also committed four errors for the second time in three games. They have dropped five of six ...

Gleyber Torres and Kyle Higashioka made throwing errors, the sure-handed Gio Urshela botched a grounder and Gary Sanchez was called for catcher's interference for the third time in as many games behind the plate.

With two games left, the Yankees hold a one-game lead over the Blue Jays for second place in the AL East. ...

[The MFY have had] trouble catching and throwing the ball and scoring runs (five in the last three games). To make a miserable night worse, the Yankees watched the Marlins celebrate on the Stadium's hallowed ground.

Note: That so-called "hallowed ground" has existed for only 11 full seasons and has not witnessed a World Series since 2009.

Kristie Ackert, Daily News:

Friday, the Marlins launched into a on-field celebration not just of their 4-3, 10-inning win over the Yankees, but their stunning comebacks from 105 losses and a huge coronavirus outbreak to clinch a playoff spot. ...

More worrisome for the Yankees is that they won't get to celebrate anything if they don't start getting out of their own way.

It was the Yankees' third straight loss and fifth in six games. With just two games remaining in the regular season, the Yankees are slumping into the playoffs. ...

The Yankees' mistakes were costly in many ways.

The Marlins got a reprieve in the 10th when Kyle Higashioka's error [the fourth of the night, the eighth in the last three games, and the team's 15th error in the last eight games] — hitting the runner with the ball when the Yankees had Monte Harrison in a run down between third and home — allowed Harrison to remain on third. He scored what ended up being the winning run on Jesus Aguilar’s sacrifice fly.

DJ LeMahieu had a chance with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 10th, but grounded into a double play. ...

The Yankees have a major league-high 47 errors ...

Ken Davidoff, Post:

Moving day rapidly approaches, and the Yankees look like they have neither started packing nor notified their utilities nor hired the crew to transport their considerable belongings.

They really need to get their act together, no?

The Yankees [have] five losses in seven games [in Buffalo] and, more relevant, four losses in their past five contests overall. ...

This latest funk has turned the Yankees from likely wild-card-round hosts to likely visitors, meaning they'll close out their regular season in The Bronx against the Marlins this weekend then probably hit the road for as long as their 2020 continues — which feels right now like it could be just a few days. ...

That uncertainty aligns with this weird Yankees campaign within this weird MLB season. The Boone Bunch's COVID-reduced journey can be broken into clear peaks and valleys: 16-6, then 5-15, then 10-0 and now 1-4 with just three games left. ...

[The Yankees] don't own a winning record against any clubs competing into October.


Thursday's Loss

Dan Martin, Post:

With Thursday's 4-1 loss to Toronto in Buffalo, the Yankees have lost four of their past five as they head into their final series of the regular season against the Marlins in The Bronx.

After Wednesday's wipeout, which featured four errors, the offense couldn't figure out left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu and dropped five of their seven games at Sahlen Field this season.

The Blue Jays clinched a postseason berth with the victory ... [T]here's still a chance [the Yankees] could finish as low as seventh in the AL seeding.

And it showed again how vulnerable the Yankees are when they're not in The Bronx. They finished this abbreviated season 11-18 away from Yankee Stadium ...

Dan Martin, Post:

Gary Sanchez may not just be on the bench when Gerrit Cole is on the mound in the playoffs.

Manager Aaron Boone said Thursday on WFAN it would be a "day-by-day" decision during the postseason when it came to Sanchez and Kyle Higashioka behind the plate ...

On the year, Sanchez entered Thursday hitting just .143 with an OPS of .615. ... 

Higashioka has caught [Cole's] past four starts, and Cole is 3-1 with a 1.00 ERA while giving up just a pair of homers. In eight games pitching to Sanchez, Cole has a 3.91 ERA and allowed a dozen homers. ...

[I]t's a steep fall for Sanchez, whose struggles on both sides of the ball have been hard to ignore. He entered Thursday hitless in a dozen at-bats since his brief resurgence at the plate. And in Wednesday's loss to Toronto, he went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts and made a pair of errors, giving him three in two games.

Higashioka, meanwhile, has been solid both at the plate and behind it. ... [H]e's 6-for-15 with three homers in his past four games. ... Boone called Higashioka an "elite receiver with great hands behind the plate" ...


Wednesday's Loss

George A. King III, Post:

The Yankees can't win the AL East, and if they deliver a stinker like they did Wednesday night, their stay in the postseason will be short and painful.

On a night the Rays clinched the AL East title by beating the Mets, the Yankees embarrassed themselves in a hard-to-look-at 14-1 loss to the Blue Jays at Sahlen Field in Buffalo.

Four errors, brutal relief work and failure to hit in the clutch ... [means] the Yankees are in danger of entering the postseason Tuesday dazed and confused. ...

[Luke Voit:] "One of those games you have to throw out the window and keep plugging."

Had they tossed anything out of a window Wednesday evening, it would have been overthrown or dropped.

 

September 25, 2020

G58: Atlanta 8, Red Sox 7 (11)

Red Sox - 000 010 102 21 - 7  6  1 
Atlanta - 100 000 030 22 - 8 11  1 
Beaten by a leadoff -two-run homer by Freddie Freeman — thanks Rob Manfred, you worthless, baseball-hating asshole — after blowing leads of 2-1, 6-4, and 7-6. With the Friday night loss, the Red Sox fell to 0-4 in extra innings this season.

For some reason, Jeffrey Springs pitched the eleventh inning, despite blowing a save opportunity by giving up two runs in the bottom of the tenth. Handed another lead, Springs blew another save opportunity in the eleventh and was branded with the L as Freeman homered on a 1-0 pitch.

The box score states "Springs (L, 0-2)(BS, 1)" so we now know a pitcher cannot blow two saves in one game even if he blows two saves in one game.

Ryan Brasier also blew a save, giving up three runs with two outs in the eighth (one run scored on an error). Perhaps his mind was elsewhere — maybe he was worried about Donald Trump's less-than-tremendous poll numbers.
Chris Mazza / Kyle Wright 

Verdugo, RF
Arroyo, SS
Martinez, DH
Bradley, CF
Plawecki, C
Dalbec, 3B
Lin, LF
Chavis, 1B
Araúz, 2B 

This is Jackie Bradley's second career start as a clean-up hitter, in 871 games. He batted #4 against the Angels on July 30, 2016, going went 0-for-4 with a walk. Bradley's only start batting #3 was also against the Angels: July 23, 2017 (0-for-4).

The Red Sox are 22-35, with three games in Atlanta still on the schedule.

Checking back on our W-L Contest, three people are still in the running (but only if the Red Sox sweep this series) and John G. would win the tiebreaker, because the top MLB batting average is .355 (assuming DJ LeMahieu doesn't go something like 9-for-15, which would put him at .374).
                 W-L        MLB TOP AVG     W/162G
Jim G.          25-35          .407           67.5
Rich G.         25-35          .393              "
John G.         25-35          .350              "
(I'm ignoring the fact that 25-35 was the worst full-season prediction of the contest.)

At .386, the Red Sox's current winning percentage is better than only nine other seasons in franchise history (1906, 1925, 1926, 1927, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1932, and 1965). Seven of those seasons happened in an eight-year period!

September 24, 2020

G57: Orioles 13, Red Sox 1

Orioles - 030 320 113 - 13 18  3
Red Sox - 000 010 000 -  1  7  0
Martín Pérez (4-9-6-1-2, 82) got lit up and Dylan Covey and Tzu-Wei Lin each allowed three runs. 

Lin, who entered the game at shortstop in the eighth, made his pitching debut in the ninth inning. His first offering, a 65-mph curveball to Austin Hays, was hit for a home run. Lin gave up a single and a couple of doubles before the inning was over.

The Orioles began the night having lost 12 of their last 15 games. In those 12 losses, they averaged a paltry 1.9 runs per game; in nine losses, they were shutout or scored one run. They came close to matching their season-high in runs (one shy of the 14 they scored 10 days ago against Atlanta) and hits (one fewer than the 19 against the Nationals on August 7). They did pound out a season-high 10 extra-base hits.

The first five Orioles reached base in the second inning and Baltimore led 3-0. The Orioles doubled their lead in the fourth on two doubles, a sac fly, and a home run from Jose Iglesias.

The Red Sox's lone run scored on a double play after the bases were loaded with no outs. Of course. Jackie Bradley and Bobby Dalbec singled and Michael Chavis was hit by a pitch. Christian Arroyo GIDP and JBJ scored. Alex Verdugo flied to center to complete the squander against Alex Cobb (7-6-1-2-4, 89), who lasted seven innings for the first time since August 18, 2018 (he missed most of last year because of hip surgery).

Boston's seven hits were spread among seven batters, with Dalbec also drawing a walk.
Alex Cobb / Martín Pérez

Verdugo, RF
Devers, 3B 
Bogaerts, SS 
Martinez, DH 
Vázquez, C 
Bradley, CF 
Dalbec, 1B 
Chavis, LF 
Arroyo, 2B

In their last six games, Boston's starting pitchers have posted a 0.84 ERA (three earned runs in 32 innings). . . . Nathan Eovaldi finished the 2020 season with 13 scoreless innings. In his final four starts, he allowed only two runs in 21 innings, striking out 25 while walking only two.

Martín Pérez has had three starts this year in which he pitched at least six innings and allowed one or no runs. He's tied for the most such starts in MLB. Go figure.

Also, Pérez did not receive a decision in any of those three starts: August 22 vs Orioles, September 3 vs Blue Jays, September 18 vs Yankees. 19.2 innings, 11 hits, 2 runs, 5 walks, 18 strikeouts, an ERA of 0.92. Zero wins. (But, please, sportswriters and announcers, don't stop citing a pitcher's W-L as a proper measure of his performance).

September 23, 2020

G56: Red Sox 9, Orioles 1

Orioles - 000 000 100 - 1 11  0
Red Sox - 206 000 10x - 9 10  0
The Red Sox sent 10 men to the plate in the third, having their way with Dean Kremer (2.2-7-7-3-2, 64) and reliever Branden Kline, scoring six times.

Jackie Bradley and Kevin Plawecki (3-for-4) had run-scoring singles in the first inning, but the fun really started two innings later.

Bogaerts singled to left and scored on J.D. Martinez's double off the Wall (3-0). JDM went to third on JBJ's fly to right. Plawecki tripled to right (4-0). Bobby Dalbec grounded to third and Plawecki was put out at the plate. Michael Chavis doubled, scoring Dalbec (5-0). Christian Arroyo walked.

Kremer was sent away and Kline took over. Verdugo walked, loading the bases. Devers smoked a double into the right-field corner, clearing the sacks (8-0). 

In his final start of the season, Nathan Eovaldi threw six shutout innings (6-7-0-1-8, 92).

The Rays clinched the AL East, for the first time since 2010.

Juan Toribio, MLB.com:

The team started 5-7 and lost five key pitchers to season-ending injuries. At one point, the Rays had 10 pitchers on the injured list, the most of any team in the Majors. They also dealt with injuries to Yandy Díaz, Ji-Man Choi and Austin Meadows, who are integral pieces to the offense.

After that poor start, Tampa Bay has gone 32-13 (.711), a 115-win pace.

The Blue Jays scored eight runs in a 12-batter sixth inning, en route to a 14-1 rout of the Yankees. New York managed only four hits and committed four errors (two by Gary Maniloaf).
Dean Kremer / Nathan Eovaldi

Verdugo, RF
Devers, 3B
Bogaerts, SS
Martinez, DH
Bradley, CF
Plawecki, C
Dalbec, 1B
Chavis, LF
Arroyo, 2B

Nathan Eovaldi has allowed only two runs in his last 3 starts (15-10-2-1-17), a game on August 20 against Baltimore and two starts since coming off the IL (Rays and Marlins).

Eovaldi has a 2.92 ERA this season, if we ignore his super-shitty outing against the MFY on August 15; otherwise, it's 4.25.  . . . His 7.33 K/BB ratio (44 strikeouts, six walks) ranks seventh in MLB and is the best mark of his career.

Bobby Dalbec (.348/.423/.804 in his last 13 games) is the eighth Red Sox player to have 10+ extra-base hits in 18 career games or fewer, joining Ted Williams (1939), Ted Lepcio (1952), George Scott (1966), Ellis Burks (1987), Sam Horn (1987), Will Middlebrooks (2012), and Rafael Devers (2017).

Horn and Scott each had 12 extra-base hits in their first 18 games; Middlebrooks had 11.

September 22, 2020

G55: Red Sox 8, Orioles 3

Orioles - 100 002 000 - 3 11  3 
Red Sox - 031 004 00x - 8 14  2 
Nick Pivetta (5-4-1-3-8, 96) brushed aside an early run and Christian Vázquez belted a three-run homer in the sixth inning, after the Orioles had cut the Red Sox's lead to 4-3.

J.D. Martinez went 3-for-5, with two doubles, and Bobby Dalbec (2-for-3) drove in two runs. Alex Verdugo, Jackie Bradley and Jonathan Araúz also had two hits each. The only Boston batter to go hitless was Rafael Devers, who went 0-for-5, with four strikeouts, and committed his 13th error at third base.

Baltimore made two errors in the second inning, helping the Red Sox take a 3-1 lead. Vázquez reached on a error, went to second on Bradley's single, and scored on Dalbec's double. That tied the game at 1-1. JBJ scored on Michael Chavis's sac fly and Dalbec scored on an error by Orioles left fielder DJ Stewart. Singles by Xander Bogaerts and Bradley and Dalbec's single to center gave Boston a 4-1 lead.

Renato Nunez homered off Marcus Walden to start the sixth. Stewart singled and Boston's left fielder (Chavis) made an error. Walden got a double play, but then gave up a run-scoring double to Rio Ruiz.

Araúz walked in the bottom of the sixth against Paul Fry, who threw a wild pitch before fanning Verdugo and Devers. Evan Phillips relieved Fry, but that was clearly a mistake for the Birds. Bogaerts walked on four pitches, Martinez singled to right for one run, and Váz donged to left-center for three more.

The Orioles loaded the bases in the ninth against Dylan Covey (two singles and a walk). Matt Barnes took over and retired Pedro Severino on a 1-1 fastball, which was popped up in foul territory to Dalbec at first.
Keegan Akin / Nick Pivetta

Verdugo, RF
Devers, 3B
Bogaerts, SS
Martinez, DH
Vázquez, C
Bradley, CF
Dalbec, 1B
Chavis, LF
Araúz, 2B 

Nick Pivetta (a native of Vancouver Island) will be the 47th Red Sox player to appear in a game this year. The 2019 Red Sox also used 47 players, though in 107 more games.

Pivetta will be the 28th player to make his Red Sox debut this season. That would be the most in a Red Sox season since 2006 (32). Six players have made their MLB debut with Boston in 2020.

Pivetta also will be the Red Sox's 16th starting pitcher this season. That sum leads the majors and is tied for the second-most in franchise history. The 1909 and 1952 teams used 18 starting pitchers (in 152 and 154 games, respectively).

Red Sox starting pitchers have pitched at least five innings and allowed no earned runs in four of the last six games, after doing so only once in the season's first 48 games.

Bobby Dalbec's seven home runs in his first 17 career games is tied with George Scott (1966) and Sam Horn (1987) for the Red Sox record. The Boomer holds the club's record for most taters in his first 18 career games, with nine. In his last 12 games, Dalbec has a 1.187 OPS.

Alex Speier (Globe): "Roenicke says Eduardo Rodriguez is still being evaluated. Offseason program 'may still be weeks away.' He hasn't yet been cleared for physical activity. Despite that, Roenicke says Sox still expect Rodriguez to be available/healthy next season."

September 20, 2020

G54: Red Sox 10, Yankees 2

Yankees - 000 001 001 -  2  3  2 
Red Sox - 024 000 31x - 10 14  1
The Red Sox spared themselves the indignity of an "entire" season without at least one win against the Yankees, with a decisive victory in the final meeting of the two teams. Boston went 1-12 against the MFY in this shortened 2020 season.

Tanner Houck (6-1-1-3-4, 85) pitched five no-hit innings and allowed an unearned run. The Yankees had only one hit through the first eight innings. 

Houck, a 24-year-old right-hander, is the eighth pitcher since 1901 - and the first Red Sox pitcher - to throw 5+ innings and give up two hits or fewer in his first two starts. He is also the third Red Sox pitcher in history to go 5+ innings in each of his first two starts without allowing an earned run, joining Boo Ferris (1945) and Vaughn Eshelman (1995).

Houck's stats: 11-3-1-6-11 (0.00 ERA; run is unearned). 

Michael Chavis hit two home runs and drove in five of the Red Sox's first six runs. His two shots came off MFY starter Deivi García (3-8-6-1-2, 76). 

Jackie Bradley went 4-for-5 and scored three times. Other members of the Dong Parade were Bobby Dalbec (#7) and J.D. Martinez (#6).

Drama! . . . From the Globe's Peter Abraham:

A person in a blue Red Sox jersey made their way onto the CF camera platform and has delayed the game. The person threw something on the field and is how evading security by standing over the railing of the platform above the seats.

Security has gotten ahold of the person, who is being led away. 

The person thew two hats onto the field then dangled over the railing of the camera platform and at one point did a few pushups. Bizarre scene.

At one point the Fenway Park invader yelled, "Hey No. 23, you ain't no Michael Jordan" at Michael Chavis and threw a hat towards him. It looked for a second like he might jump from the camera platform.

Chavis said he was a little concerned when the person was on the wall. He was worried something would happen.

Per the Boston Police: The person who caused the delay at Fenway Park was not arrested. He was taken to a nearby hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.

In that guy's defense, he's not wrong. Chavis is no Michael Jordan. 
Deivi García / Tanner Houck

Vázquez, C
Devers, 3B
Martinez, DH
Dalbec, 1B
Bradley, CF
Chavis, LF
Puello, RF
Lin, 2B
Araúz, SS

September 19, 2020

Electronic Sign Stealing (September 1900)

"1st electronic sign stealing dates back to 9/17/1900. ... Reds Captain Tom Corcoran found a metal box buried below the 3rd base coaching box with a "ticker" inside it. The Phillies were sending "taps" from their clubhouse window to 3d base coach below."

G53: Yankees 8, Red Sox 0

Yankees - 200 230 001 - 8 11  0 
Red Sox - 000 000 000 - 0  5  3
The Red Sox lost their twelfth consecutive game to the Yankees, which tied a franchise record.

The two rivals have one more game, tomorrow afternoon.

The Red Sox had gone 68 games without being shut out (the longest active streak in the majors). 

J.A. Happ (8-4-0-0-9, 113) was dominant. . . . J.D. Martinez had two of Boston's five hits.
JA Happ / Chris Mazza

Arroyo, 2B
Devers, 3B
Bogaerts, SS
Martinez, DH
Plawecki, C
Bradley, CF
Dalbec, 1B
Chavis, LF
Puello, RF

The Red Sox have lost 11 consecutive games against the Yankees. The franchise record is 12 losses, which has happened twice: 1936 (May 27-August 23 (G1)) and 1952-1953 (August 16-April 23 (9 games in 1952, 3 games in 1953))

Roster Moves:

Yairo Muñoz to IL (back strain), retroactive to Friday. . . . Outfielder César Puello (#75) called up. . . . Zack Godley to 45-day IL, opening up a 40-man spot for Puello. . . . Puello will be the 46th player used in 53 games this season. The Red Sox used 47 players in 162 games last season.

Peter Abraham tweeted last night: "David Ortiz, on NESN, said he tested positive for Covid but was asymptomatic. Tested negative recently. 'It's no joke,' he said." . . . A follow-up: "He also said a member of his family was pretty sick with it."

September 18, 2020

G52: Yankees 6, Red Sox 5 (12)

Yankees - 000 000 211 011 - 6 11  3 
Red Sox - 000 310 000 010 - 5 10  0
After blowing a 4-0 lead, the Red Sox squandered a chance to tie the game in the ninth inning and frittered away a golden opportunity to win the game in the eleventh. They wasted a great start from Martín Pérez (6-3-0-1-7, 86) and dropped to 0-8 against the Yankees this season. It was also the MFY's ninth consecutive victory.

The Red Sox are actually 0-for-their-last-11 against the Yankees, dating back to September 7, 2019. It's the first time in 67 years that Boston has lost 11 in a row to New York (August 16, 1952-April 23, 1953) . . . Q: In setting out the span of dates, should the second day be the day of the Red Sox's final loss of the streak (April 23) or the day before the Red Sox's win that snapped the streak (May 7, an off day as it turns out)?

Trailing by one run in the bottom of the eleventh, Michael Chavis went from second to third on Jonathan Loaisiga's wild pitch and scored on Christian Vázquez's (3-for-5) single to center. Tzu-Wei Lin bunted to the pitcher and second baseman Tyler Wade was charged with a "missed catch" error, leaving runners on first and second, with none out.

Rafael Devers grounded into a double play, but the call at first base was overturned after a Red Sox challenge. Loaisiga intentionally walked Xander Bogaerts, loading the bases for the slumping J.D. Martinez. JDM went down swinging, giving him four strikeouts across an 0-for-6 night and nine stranded base runners. Vázquez ended the inning with a fly out to right.

In the twelfth, a two-out double gave New York a 6-5 lead. Kevin Plawecki grounded out to second in the bottom half, putting Vázquez, as the tying run, at third. But again, the Red Sox could not capitalize. Jackie Bradley flied to center and Michael Chavis grounded out to shortstop.

Christian Arroyo went 3-for-5 in the #9 spot in the lineup, driving in four runs, threw of them coming on his third home run of the year.

The Red Sox stole six bases (Vazquez (2), Bogaerts (2), Bradley, and Martinez) and turned four double plays (three of them for Pérez, in the second, third, and sixth innings, and the final one coming in the eleventh). Boston also stole six bags on September 12 against the Rays. The only other games this year with multiple stolen bases were on August 13 and 29 (two each).

Matt Barnes blew the save with one out to go, giving up Gary Sanchez's 10th dong of the season. JDM struck out looking with the tying run on second in the home half of the ninth and the perversity of Extra Innings 2020 began.
Jordan Montgomery / Martín Pérez

Verdugo, RF
Devers, 3B
Bogaerts, SS
Martinez, LF
Vázquez, C
Plawecki, DH
Bradley, CF
Chavis, 1B
Arroyo, 2B
 
J.D. Martinez is still hitting cleanup despite a .206 batting average and .371 slugging percentage. . . . Last nine games: 3-for-34, .088. . . . Last 19 games: 12-for-72, .167.

MLB.com's Game Preview refers to Pérez as "Boston's most consistent starter this season". Looking at the stats for Pérez and Nathan Eovaldi makes it clear that "consistent" doesn't mean "best". Both pitchers' game logs have good and bad starts mixed together, so perhaps it means "not injured"?
         GS   IP    H  ER  BB   K   ERA   WHIP  ERA+
Pérez    10  52.0  43  25  26  37  4.33  1.327   109
Eovaldi 8 42.1 44 20 6 44 4.25 1.181 111
BB/K: Eovaldi has averaged three fewer walks (1.3 vs 4.5) and three additional strikeouts per nine inning (9.4 vs 6.4).

The Yankees (29-21) have won eight straight games and are comfortably in second place in the AL East, 3.5 GB the Rays, with the Blue Jays 6 GB.

The Yankees come into this three-game series with the distinction of being the first team in major league history to hit six or more home runs in three consecutive games. They belted a record 19 dongs in a three-game sweep of the Blue Jays. The previous record for homers in a three-game span was 16, shared by the 1977 Red Sox, 2019 Nationals, and 2019 Yankees. (MLB.com's Bryan Hoch noted the 19 homers were sent a combined 7,496 feet - approximately 28 New York City blocks.)

Last night, the Yankees posted the franchise's first five-homer inning, and the seventh in major league history. Brett Gardner, DJ LeMahieu, and Luke Voit went back-to-back-to-back on three consecutive pitches in the fourth. After an out, Giancarlo Stanton and Gleyber Torres hit back-to-back blasts.

In its current eight-game winning streak, New York has more home runs (27) than their opponents have runs scored (20).

September 17, 2020

September 9: Atlanta Sets New NL Runs Record In 29-9 Rout Of Marlins

A new National League record for runs record was set on September 9, 2020, when Atlanta beat the Marlins 29-9.

Marlins - 0  2 3 300 100 -  9 13 2
Atlanta - 0(11)2 363 40x - 29 23 0


The previous NL mark was 28 runs, set by the St. Louis Cardinals, who beat the Phillies, 28-6, on July 6, 1929 (two 10-run innings). The all-time record of 36 runs was set on June 29, 1897, when the Chicago Colts (now the Cubs) whipped the Louisville Colonels 36-7.

The modern (since 1900) major league record is 30 runs, by Texas in a 30-3 rout of the Orioles in the first game of a doubleheader on August 22, 2007. (Texas scored in only four of its nine innings that night. Also, Atlanta's Nick Markakis was the Orioles' right fielder in that game and Ron Washington, Atlanta's third-base coach, managed the Rangers.)
   
Back in 1883, when the Atlanta franchise was known as the Boston Beaneaters, they scored 30 runs on June 9 and 29 runs on June 20.

Boston Beaneaters    - 20(10) 250 632 - 30 28  7
Detroit Wolverines   - 32  1  110 000 -  8 16 21

Boston Beaneaters    - 311 447 540    - 29 26  1
Philadelphia Quakers - 100 100 002    -  4 10 17

Both games were in Boston and the Beaneaters chose to bat first.

The Atlanta-Marlins game was also the first 29-9 score in major league history.
Atlanta's Adam Duvall hit three home runs, his second three-dong night in a span of only eight days (September 2-9). Duvall and Nelson Cruz (2019) are the only two players in the last 35 years with two three-homer games in an eight-game span. Doug DeCinces of the Angels had two three-homer games in a six-day span (August 3-8, 1982).

Duvall's nine RBI tied a single-game record for Atlanta. He now shares the team record with Tony Cloninger, a pitcher! On July 3, 1966, Cloninger hit two grand slams and an RBI single and pitched a complete game against the Giants.

Duvall is the first player in major league history to hit a two-run homer, three-run homer and a grand slam, in that order, in a single game.

Atlanta scored 18 of its 29 runs on home runs, tying a major league record. 

In the game before this one, the Marlins had shut out Atlanta 8-0. The Marlins are the first modern team to give up 29 more runs in one game than it allowed in its previous game. They dethroned the 2007 Orioles, who had prevailed over Texas 6-2 the day before they lost 30-3. 

In its nine games prior to September 9, the Marlins gave up 24 runs in 72.2 innings. Then they allowed 29 runs in only eight innings. 

The Marlins' previous record for runs allowed came in a 25-8 loss to the Red Sox on June 27, 2003. Boston scored 14 runs in the first inning of that game, including 10 runs before making an out. Leadoff hitter Johnny Damon had a single, double, and triple in the first inning; he finished the night 5-for-7, but did not hit for the cycle.

Marlins reliever Jordan Yamamoto was torched for 13 runs in 2.2 innings. He and Vin Mazzaro (Royals, 14 RA in 2.1 IP, May 16, 2011) are the only relief pitchers in the past 75 years to allow 13+ runs in a game.

Atlanta's Bryse Wilson earned [sic] a save in the 29-9 victory.

Also on September 9, the Brewers beat the Tigers 19-0

Brewers - 031 305 304 - 19 21 0
Tigers  - 000 000 000 -  0  2 1

There has been only one other day in major league history on which two teams won by 19 or more runs. It happened more than 136 years ago. On July 4, 1884, the Chicago White Stockings beat the Philadelphia Quakers 22-3 (National League) and the Boston Reds beat the Kansas City Cowboys 22-3 (!!) (Union Association).

Atlanta and the Brewers combined for 48 runs scored. That's the most runs two teams have combined to score in different games, on the same day, since September 10, 1891. On that particular Thursday, the Milwaukee Brewers (unrelated to the current team) beat the Washington Statesmen 30-3 (American Association) and the Boston Beaneaters beat the Cincinnati Reds 18-6 (National League).

Runs scored by the Brewers, September 9-15: 19, 1, 2, 0 (no hits), 2, 2, 18.

The last team to score 19+ runs and be no-hit in a four-game span was the 1962 Angels. Earl Wilson of the Red Sox no-hit them 2-0 on June 26 and they beat Boston 19-7 on June 28.

September 16, 2020

G43-51: Red Sox Go 5-4 On Road Against Phillies, Rays, Marlins

Catching up:
September  8 - G43: Phillies 6, Red Sox 5 (7) (G1) 
September  8 - G44: Red Sox 5, Phillies 2 (7) (G2) 
September 10 - G45: Red Sox 4, Rays 3
September 11 - G46: Rays 11, Red Sox 1
September 12 - G47: Rays 5, Red Sox 4
September 13 - G48: Red Sox 6, Rays 3
September 15 - G49: Red Sox 2, Marlins 0
September 16 - G50: Marlins 8, Red Sox 4
September 17 - G51: Red Sox 5, Marlins 3
The Red Sox hit five home runs against the Blue Jays on Saturday, September 5, four homers against the Jays the next day, and (after a day off) four dongs against the Phillies in Game 1 on Tuesday, September 8.

It was only the second time in history the team hit at least four home runs in three consecutive games. In a three-game Fenway sweep of the MFY on June 17-18-19, 1977, the Red Sox went deep 16 (!) times (6, 5, 5), including four in the first inning of the first game against Catfish Hunter, who lasted 0.2 innings. (I remember that series fondly. In the middle game, on a hot Saturday afternoon, Reggie Jackson loafed after a single to right field by Jim Rice and was immediately pulled from the game by MFY manager Billy Martin. Reggie was dumbfounded when he saw Paul Blair come out to replace him. (Is there video of Reggie pointing to himself, as if to say "Who, me?") When Jackson got to the dugout, he and Martin nearly got into a fight (on national television).)

Bobby Dalbec is the fifth rookie in major league history to hit as many as six home runs in his first 10 games. The other four: Dino Restelli (6, 1949 Pirates), Trevor Story (7, 2016 Rockies), Kyle Lewis (6, 2019 Mariners), and Aristides Aquino (7, 2019 Reds).

Dalbec's home runs in five consecutive games tied the major league rookie record. It's the longest streak by a Red Sox rookie. Eight Boston rookies have homered in three straight games, with Trot Nixon being the most recent, in 1999.

Only five other Red Sox batters have homered in five straight games: Jimmie Foxx (1940), Ted Williams (1957), Dick Stuart (1963), George Scott (1977), and Jose Canseco (1995). 

Dalbec homered in both games of September 8's doubleheader in Philadelphia. The last Red Sox rookie to homer in both games of a DH was Reggie Smith (August 20, 1967); the last Red Sox rookie to do it on the road was Ted Williams (September 10, 1939). 

Dalbec also drove in at least a one run in six consecutive games (September 5-11), becoming the first Boston rookie to do so since Nomar Garciaparra (6 games, July 14-19, 1997). 

On Tuesday night, Tanner Houck (#89) made his major league debut (5-2-0-3-7, 86). The 24-year-old right-hander is the 13th Red Sox pitcher to throw at least five shutout innings in his debut.

Red Sox Pitchers With 7+ Strikeouts & 0 Runs Allowed In MLB Debut
Larry Pape         July 6, 1909 (G2)   vs Washington  9.0 IP,  7 SO
Dave Morehead April 13, 1963 at Washington 9.0 IP, 10 SO
Eduardo Rodriguez May 28, 2015 at Texas 7.2 IP, 7 SO
Tanner Houck September 15, 2020 at Miami 5.0 IP, 7 SO
Houck donated $100 for each of his seven strikeouts to his Pitch for Adoption campaign. Houck's family adopted his sister Reanna when he was a freshman in high school.

The Red Sox have used a major league-leading 15 starting pitchers this season. This is the seventh year in which the team has had at least 15 starters. The team record is 18 (1909 and 1952). Of course, a full schedule was played in both of those seasons.

September 11: Rays manager Kevin Cash had a starting lineup of nine left-handed batters against Boston's Andrew Triggs. It was the first time in major league history (since at least 1901) in which a team's lineup had nine lefties.




And: One of the more remarkable assists by a third baseman you'll ever see:

September 8, 2020

Schadenfreude 273 (A Continuing Series)


July 23-August 17
W L GB
Yankees 16 6 ---
Rays 14 9 2.5
Orioles 12 10 4.0
Blue Jays 8 11 6.5
Red Sox 6 17 10.5
 
August 18-September 8
             W 	  L    GB
Rays 14 6 ---
Blue Jays 16 7 0.5
Red Sox 9 12 5.5
Orioles 8 11 5.5
Yankees 5 15 9.0
Kristie Ackert, Daily News:

The reality is embarrassing. The Yankees have collapsed in every facet of the game. Monday night the bullpen blew up. Over the weekend, the defense gifted away games. Before that, baserunning and starting pitching cost them. Tuesday night, it was back on the offense that could not get the job done.

Hours after their general manager called a team meeting to discuss their epic slide, the Yankees' bats stranded 10 runners and the Blue Jays held them off for a 2-1 win at Sahlen Field.

It was the fifth straight loss for the Yankees (21-21). It was their 15th loss in their last 20 games and it brought their record back to .500. It was the first time since 1995 they have had a record of .500 or below during the month of September. ...

[T]he Yankees haven't played well as a team in weeks. They didn't play well Tuesday night either.

They got a strong start from J.A. Happ, who went seven innings allowing just two runs ... That should have been enough for a team built around power hitters, but even in this Triple-A ballpark, two runs was too much to overcome.

The Yankees had opportunities; they just squandered them.

They went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position, including twice having the bases loaded and coming up with just one run total. ...

Gary Sanchez, who had been benched for two games because of the epic slump he has been in all season ... went 0-for-4 with one strikeout Tuesday night.

During their five-game losing streak, the hitters are 2-for-32 with runners in scoring position and have now gone 17 straight games without double-digit hits.

"I almost feel like it's embarrassing for us right now ..." a visibly frustrated Voit said. "You can't ever count us out. ... I feel like teams aren't really scared of us right now and it's kind of a sad thing because we're the New York Yankees."

George A. King III, Post:

Brian Cashman called a sit-down Tuesday with his struggling club and told the players he believed in them, but the clock was ticking loudly on a season that is headed toward one of the most disappointing in the storied franchise's history.

Then the Yankees showed their GM what it sounds like when bats die in a 2-1 loss to the Blue Jays at Sahlen Field in Buffalo. It was the team's fifth straight loss, its 15th defeat in the past 20 games ...

[Cashman:] "Making sure they know where they have to get back to. The bottom line is, we are on our own, there is no help coming ..."

After the Yankees stranded 10 runners and went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position Tuesday, Luke Voit ... admitted opposing teams no longer fear the Yankees ...

A 16-6 start has led to 21-21 and being three games behind the Blue Jays for second place in the AL East with 18 tilts remaining. ... [The Yankees] wasted seven runs Monday night and has been held to one run in three of the past four games ...

 Mike Vaccaro, Post:

"Every now and then, when I feel it's appropriate, I'm not afraid to gather the troops," Brian Cashman had said earlier in the day. ...

A few hours after Cashman channeled Knute Rockne ... the Yankees could only scratch a skinny run off the Blue Jays despite — all together now — lots of traffic on the base paths. ...

They are 21-21. ... 16-6 [has] become 5-15. None of that is an accident. The Yankees are a mess right now. They keep waiting for that narrative to change. They wait still.

"I know we're better than that," Aaron Boone said, in his nightly reckoning ... it's harder and harder for it not to sound like Mister Rogers doing a voice-over describing a 20-car pileup on the Cross Bronx Expressway. ...

You think you're aggravated with the Yankees right now? That's nothing compared to the Yankees right now. They've seen this 5-15 horror show up close. They see the record in the paper. They know the days are dwindling down to a precious few.

Kristie Ackert, Daily News:

Brian Cashman was not here for the wings or nearby Niagara Falls. The Yankees GM came to see firsthand his floundering ballclub and deliver a message before it dropped over the edge of this 2020 coronavirus-pandemic shortened MLB season.

Cashman ... addressed them after a horrific collapse Monday night and three weeks of their season spiraling downward. It was not the table-tossing, fire-and-brimstone speech that fans would like at this low point in the season, but it was a reminder of expectations. ...

The Bombers have dropped like a dead weight in the American League East standings until they are fighting just to claw their way back into a fight with the Blue Jays for second place and a playoff spot.

"The bottom line is we're on our own," Cashman said. "There's no help coming from anywhere ... [T]he work's got to be done now while the storm is upon us ... We haven't played well now for quite some time ... [I]t's time to go. Not that it wasn't time to go before ..."

September 7, 2020

Schadenfreude 272 (A Continuing Series)

 

 

 George A. King III, Post:

A very expensive pinstriped bobsled on the way to baseball hell without a brakeman is the best way to describe the Yankees.

Looking to escape the dark wilderness they have been wandering in for too long, the Yankees plunged a lot further into the abyss Monday night when stud relievers Chad Green and Adam Ottavino flushed a four-run lead in the sixth inning which led to an embarrassing 12-7 loss to the Blue Jays at Buffalo's Sahlen Field.

With general manager Brian Cashman making a rare road trip to eyeball his sinking ship, the Yankees' miseries continued even on a night when the lineup emerged from a late-summer nap.

Asked to protect a 6-2 lead after Jordan Montgomery failed to provide length for a second straight start, Green and Ottavino combined to give up a staggering 10 runs in the sixth inning in the latest low moment of a season that has gone completely off the rails for the Yankees who are in danger of completely missing the extended postseason.

The fourth straight loss was also the Yankees' 14th in their past 19 games, continuing their descent from the top of the AL East to third place with no sign that they can halt the free fall. ...

After scoring one run Sunday when they dropped a third straight to the Orioles, it appeared the Yankees had hit rock bottom and had nowhere to go but up.

Instead in the first of 10 games against the Blue Jays, who lead the Yankees by two lengths in the race for second in the AL East, the Yankees continued to falter.

Most alarming was Green and Ottavino torching a game in which Luke Voit and Aaron Hicks hit back-to-back homers off Hyun Jin Ryu in the opening inning, Miguel Andujar homered in the fourth and Clint Frazier delivered a two-run double in the fifth that hiked the lead to 6-2.

Then the sixth rolled around and the beginning of the end surfaced.

Green walked two of the first three batters he faced, gave up a hit and watched Voit botch a ground ball. Enter Ottavino, whose No. 0 on the back of his jersey represented the number of outs he got against six Blue Jays. Most alarming was the grand slam he surrendered to No. 9 hitter Danny Jansen, a .155 hitter.

Mike Vaccaro, Post:

This was a case study of baseball as water torture. A walk. A fly ball. Another walk. Time came to a screeching halt inside Sahler Field. They ratcheted the crowd noise up a little. And then a lot.

They started playing this horrendous white-noise sound effect, and the parade of base runners continued unabated. A single. A fielding error. A pitching change.

Even all the way out here, in the western corner of New York, you could hear the murmuring and the muttering and the mumbling emanating from the southern district, and from the neighboring territories of Connecticut and Jersey. A single. A steal. Another single. Another steal.

The trickle had become a flood. The Blue Jays somehow looked like a hockey team on an endless five-on-three power play. They could do nothing wrong. The Yankees could do nothing right — nothing. Another walk. Another single. Another walk …

Grand slam. ...

Six-two up had become 12-6 down, and would become an unsettling 12-7 loss. That was your average 10-run inning right there for the Blue Jays, and it came against Chad Green and Ottavino, who are supposed to be two of the more reliable Yankees relievers and on this night looked like the Islanders goalies in Edmonton, unable to stop the fusillade. ...

Forget all the losses that have preceded this one: this was the Mona Lisa of misery, the Pieta of poor. This was bad baseball elevated to an art form, and it came with GM Brian Cashman in the house to get an up-close peek at the bad and the ugly, and it dropped the Yankees two full games behind the Jays for second place in the East (with the Rays, even off a loss, galloping off into the horizon like Secretariat).

And now, you can begin to think the unthinkable. Because even as the Yankees’ season has cratered, there was always solace to be taken in the fact that as long as they earned a spot in the playoffs it was still possible — likely, even — to turn the narrative around. ...

Only the Yankees awaken this morning 21-20, No. 8 out of eight in the AL playoff race. They are only a game ahead of the Orioles and the Tigers in the loss column. They are only two ahead of the surging Mariners. ...

We have proceeded well past the point where the only concern in their universe was Tampa. ... And now, in the most important baseball series played in the city of Buffalo since at least 1915, the Yankees dropped Game 1 in the most deplorable fashion possible. The Jays right now are everything the Yankees aren’t: exciting, carefree, bursting with confidence, flush with swagger. They are a joy to watch.

The Yankees are not. They dare you to change the channel on them, game after game, night after night. This one lasted 4 hours and 2 minutes. It felt longer than that.

Kristie Ackert, Daily News:
The Yankees tried to say all the right things again Monday night. Adam Ottavino came out in front of the cameras and took the blame. So did Chad Green. Aaron Boone quickly tried to find the positive and talk about turning the page.

But, there was not much right to say about the Yankee bullpen's 10-run implosion in their 12-7 loss to the Blue Jays Monday night at Sahlen Field. ...

The Yankees' (21-20) season is in danger of bleeding out now.

It was their fourth straight loss and their 14 in their last 19 games. The Blue Jays (23-18), who overtook the Yankees for second place in the American League East this weekend, just put another game between them. The Yankees are 6.5 games behind the division-leading Rays and two behind the Blue Jays, who they still have to see nine more times in the next 17 days.

It was the seventh time in the Yankees' last 12 losses that the bullpen blew a lead. The Yankees' bullpen however, had not given up 10 runs in an inning since 1932 against the St. Louis Browns ...

Over the weekend, losing three out of four to the Orioles, it was the offense, starting pitching and defense that was suspect. The Yankees committed two errors Monday night, with Voit's in the sixth inning being very costly.

George A. King III, Post:

Gary Sanchez didn't start for a second straight game Monday night and it is not a lock the slumping catcher returns to the lineup Tuesday either.

"We will see ..." Aaron Boone said ... "how we want to move forward."

Forward hasn't been a direction Sanchez has been moving this year. He took a seat Monday night with an embarrassing .130 average and 48 strikeouts in 100 at-bats, and fanned in his last seven plate appearances before being benched Sunday in Baltimore. ...

G43-50: Red Sox Road Trip: Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, Miami


I will be away for the next 10 days, traveling the length of Vancouver Island, south to Victoria (home of Russell Books*, an astonishingly large used book store, and Red Fish Blue Fish, which serves some of the best seafood I've ever eaten), before investigating Salt Spring Island (this is not us) and Gabriola Island for the first time.

The Red Sox will be away from home, as well:
September  7 - Off
September  8 - G43: Red Sox at Phillies, 4 PM
September  8 - G44: Red Sox at Phillies, X PM
September  9 - Off
September 10 - G45: Red Sox at Rays, 6:30 PM
September 11 - G46: Red Sox at Rays, 6:30 PM
September 12 - G47: Red Sox at Rays, 6:30 PM
September 13 - G48: Red Sox at Rays, 1 PM
September 14 - Off
September 15 - G49: Red Sox at Marlins, 6:30 PM
September 16 - G50: Red Sox at Marlins, 6:30 PM
And the rest of the 2020 schedule:
September 17 - G51: Red Sox at Marlins, 1 PM
September 18 - G52: Yankees at Red Sox, 7:30 PM
September 19 - G53: Yankees at Red Sox, 7:30 PM
September 20 - G54: Yankees at Red Sox, 1:30 PM
September 21 - Off
September 22 - G55: Orioles at Red Sox, 7:30 PM
September 23 - G56: Orioles at Red Sox, 7:30 PM
September 24 - G57: Orioles at Red Sox, 7:30 PM
September 25 - G58: Red Sox at Atlanta, 7 PM
September 26 - G59: Red Sox at Atlanta, 7 PM
September 27 - G60: Red Sox at Atlanta, 3 PM
*: Russell Books' Current Browsing Rules: A maximum of 35 people allowed in the store at any time and a 20-minute time limit on shopping. This will involve a detailed plan of attack and multiple waits in line for re-entry.

MLB (Like The Rest Of The United States) Intentionally Ignores And Devalues The Working Class And Organized Labor

The fact that he doesn't stick to sports (and has an intelligent, progressive point of view) is one reason why I'm happy to support Craig Calcaterra's "Cup Of Coffee" newsletter:

Labor Day

Have you seen the special jerseys and caps Major League Baseball has rolled out for today’s Labor Day games? The ones — like the traditional Mother's Day, Father's Day, Memorial Day, and Fourth of July uniforms — that you can buy at the team store, the proceeds of which will go to help displaced and disabled workers?

Hahaha, of course you didn't, because such uniforms don't exist. Labor Day is the only in-season national holiday that gets no commemoration from Major League Baseball whatsoever. We don't even get a statement from the Commissioner honoring labor, organized or otherwise, despite the fact that the past half century of baseball history is inexplicably tied up with organized labor. And despite the fact that the league itself employs thousands of people, many of whom, like grounds crew and clubhouse staff, still have to work today even if we don't have fans in the stands. Some of those workers have to come in early, as five of the day's eleven contests are day games, which is unusual for a Monday. Which shows that it's not that Major League Baseball doesn't know it's Labor Day. They're perfectly aware of how it lends itself to getting more people to watch games. They just don't think it's worth commemorating much beyond that.

This is not limited to Major League Baseball, of course. It's a reflection of where we are as a society. The obliteration and demonization of the labor movement is one of the most successful political operations of the past 40 years. Organized labor makes up a smaller portion of the workforce than it ever has. Even a great many of the people who do the working in this country have bought in to the notion — propagated by those who profit from labor — that unions are tools of the communists and giving any lip service to the rights of workers is a suspect and even un-American pursuit. Good, secure jobs with good pay and benefits have come to be seen as rare luxuries for which it is rude to ask, let alone expect. What's worse: many workers themselves have adopted the language of the rich and powerful in this regard, having been convinced that their need to hustle harder than they used to in order to make less in real dollars than they used to is somehow a good thing.

I'm not sure what to do about that, but even if the devaluation of labor is bound to continue, there is no reason why baseball cannot at least commemorate and acknowledge a national holiday devoted to laborers the way in which they acknowledge other holidays. Especially given that workers have died for our country. The roads, bridges, buildings, and mines, and services which have made this country what it is were paid for in part with workers' lives and continue to be. Labor built this country. The labor movement has saved lives that would have been lost and has elevated the standard of living of families. But baseball has no plans to mark the occasion apart from scheduling some extra day games.

Maybe a special cap or jersey isn't a big deal and maybe such symbolic gestures wouldn't make a difference. But our values are revealed in both our substantive and our symbolic gestures. And it's regrettable that the quintessentially American institution of baseball can't find time to give even a nod to the men and women who form the figurative foundation of American society and built the literal foundation of America itself.

***

As noted above, Labor Day ain't just about a day off and some cookouts. It's about honoring the working class, their struggle against the bastards who would keep them down, and the work necessary to make their lot a better one. If you're interested in reading stuff about that history and that struggle, Haymarket Books has you covered. Go check out their Class War Reading List. And no, this is not a sponsored link or an affiliate link of any kind. They feature the work of writers whose work I believe in and who I'd simply like more people to read.