July 29, 2016

G101: Red Sox at Angels, 10 PM

Red Sox - 
Angels  - 
Rick Porcello / Tim Lincecum
Betts, RF
Pedroia, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Ortiz, DH
Ramirez, 1B
Bradley, CF
Hill, 3B
Hanigan, C
Holt, LF
You know what? ... Yeah, that's right. The winning streak starts now!

July 28, 2016

#KillTheWin. Seriously.

White Sox reliever David Robertson entered last Sunday's game against the Tigers in the top of the ninth inning. Chicago led 4-1 - and had a 97% chance of winning.

Robertson's not-as-planned inning went: HR, K, 4-3, HR, HR, 6-3. (The second and third home runs were by pinch-hitters.) And the game was tied 4-4. However, the White Sox scored a run in the bottom of the ninth, so Robertson was credited with the win.

Robertson became the first pitcher in the last 100 years to give up three home runs in an inning (or a partial inning) and still wind up with the victory.

G100: Angels 2, Red Sox 1

Red Sox - 001 000 000 - 1  8  1
Angels  - 000 000 002 - 2 10  0
This one - with two Angels runs scoring on Hanley Ramirez's throwing error on a possible game-ending (and Boston-game-winning) double play grounder - sounded like a real punch in the gut.

David Price (8-7-0-1-6, 109) threw eight shutout innings before Brad Ziegler took over in the ninth. The Angels loaded the bases with one out. Daniel Nava grounded a ball to Ramirez at first. His throw home sailed over the catcher's head and the tying and winning runs scored easily.

Eight of the nine Red Sox batters had a single (Jackie Bradley was hitless). David Ortiz also walked twice.
David Price / Jered Weaver
Betts, RF
Pedroia, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Ortiz, DH
Ramirez, 1B
Bradley, CF
Shaw, 3B
Leon, C
Holt, LF
First game of a four-game series against the Angels, who are last in the AL West.

Boston remains 2.5 GB the Orioles, in third place.

John Farrell indicated that David Ortiz may not play tonight.

July 27, 2016

G99: Tigers 4, Red Sox 3

Tigers  - 002 001 001 - 4 11  1
Red Sox - 100 000 110 - 3  7  0
Miguel Cabrera's ninth-inning home run off Brad Ziegler hit off the top of the short fence in front of the Red Sox bullpen. Mookie Betts was right there at the wall, but he must have completely lost the ball in the bright afternoon sun, because he did not attempt to catch it. The Tigers held on for the win and a three-game sweep of the Red Sox. Boston finished the homestand with a 4-5 record. The loss was especially frustrating because the Red Sox had rallied from two runs down to tie the game with single runs in the seventh and eighth innings.

Dustin Pedroia gave Boston a quick 1-0 lead by hitting his 11th home run. Eduardo Rodriguez (5.1-9-3-3-6, 101) gave up two runs in the fourth, both of them coming on Victor Martinez's bases loaded single. (V-Mart finished the day 4-for-4, with four singles and a walk.) The outcome of that inning could have been much worse for the Red Sox as Rodriguez received five or six gift calls (i.e., blown calls on balls out of the zone that were called strikes) from home plate umpire CB Bucknor. Despite the gifts for Boston, I still demand robots!

Xander Bogaerts led off the seventh with a home run. In the eighth, Travis Shaw singled, was bunted to second by Sandy Leon, and advanced to third on Brock Holt's groundout to second. Mookie Betts then lined a triple into the triangle. Center fielder Tyler Collins dove for the ball and did not get it. He was quickly to his feet, though, and while it looked like Betts might try for an inside-the-park home run, he held at third. Pedroia struck out to end the inning.

In the ninth, Bogaerts was called out on a pitch that was well out of the strike zone. (Robots!) So instead of Bogaerts batting with a 2-2 count, he was sent back to the dugout by Bucknor, one of the absolute worst umps in the business and someone who blew well over a dozen calls today. David Ortiz flied to left and Jackie Bradley flied to right. And that was that.
Michael Fulmer / Eduardo Rodriguez
Betts, RF
Pedroia, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Ortiz, DH
Bradley, CF
Hill, 3B
Shaw, 1B
Leon, C
Holt, LF
The third-place Red Sox (2.5 GB) play an afternoon game before heading out west for an 11-game road trip (Angels, Mariners, Dodgers).

July 26, 2016

G98: Tigers 9, Red Sox 8

Tigers  - 220 040 100 - 9 13  1
Red Sox - 003 203 000 - 8  9  0
After overcoming deficits of 0-4 and 5-8, the Red Sox dropped yet another frustrating game when reliever Robbie Ross walked Detroit's #9 hitter (who had a pathetic .195 on-base percentage) with the bases loaded in the seventh inning. David Ortiz came to the plate as the potential winning run in the bottom of the ninth, but he grounded into a game-ending 4-6-3 double play.

Steven Wright (4.2-9-8-3-2, 84) allowed a two-run homer to Miguel Cabrera in the first inning and surrendered two more runs in the second. Boston closed the gap in the third. Mookie Betts doubled and Xander Bogaerts was grazed with a pitch. Ortiz then lined a two-out, full-count pitch over the fence in right-center for a three-run homer.

The Red Sox took a 5-4 lead in the fourth. Jackie Bradley walked and Travis Shaw singled. Bradley took third on Sandy Leon's fly to center and scored on Brock Holt grounder. Betts then smoked his second double, this one sailing over the head of Justin Upton in left to bring home Shaw. Betts now has 43 multi-hit games, the most of any player in either league.

After other poor starts from Wright in hot/humid weather, manager John Farrell had assured fans that he would keep a closer eye on Wright and his sweat/perspiration issues and concurrent control problems. So much for that promise. Farrell allowed Wright to face seven batters in the fifth inning (he walked the first two, then allowed two singles) and allow four runs. By the time the eagle-eyed Farrell emerged from the dugout, the Tigers led 8-5.

But the Boston bats got Wright and Farrell (somewhat) off the hook when they tied the game in the sixth. Bradley opened the inning with his 16th home run of the season. With one out, Leon was hit by a pitch and Brock Holt was safe when Ian Kinsler committed an error, trying to flip the ball to second for a force out. After a pitching change, Betts walked to load the bases. Dustin Pedroia singled in one run and Bogaerts beat out a fielder's choice to make it 8-8.

Ross relieved Wright and completed the fifth and allowed a single in the sixth. He recorded the first two outs in the seventh before hitting Upton. Mike Aviles singled and Saltalamacchia walked, loading the bases. Then Ross walked the weak-hitting Tyler Collins to bring in Detroit's ninth run.

The Red Sox went in order in the seventh and eighth innings. Bogaerts singled off Francisco Rodriguez with one out in the ninth, setting the stage for some possible heroics for Big Papi. And while the game did end with Ortiz's at-bat, it was a routine double play.
Mike Pelfrey / Steven Wright
Betts, RF
Pedroia, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Ortiz, DH
Ramirez, 1B
Bradley, CF
Shaw, 3B
Hanigan, C
Holt, LF
Wright's 2.67 ERA is the best in the American League, though his ERA+ is just behind Cleveland's Danny Salazar. Wright's 1.148 WHIP is eighth in the AL and he has allowed the fifth-fewest hits per nine innings.

On the batting side, David Ortiz is third in average, third in on-base, first in slugging, first in OPS, first in doubles, first in extra-base hits, third in total bases, second in RBI, and fifth in home runs. (I wonder what is the best a player has done in MVP voting in his final season.)

July 25, 2016

G97: Tigers 4, Red Sox 2

Tigers  - 000 002 110 - 4  8  0
Red Sox - 010 000 010 - 2 10  0
Trailing 4-1 in the bottom of the eighth, the Red Sox loaded the bases off Tigers reliever Justin Wilson with no one out, as David Ortiz singled off the Wall, Hanley Ramirez singled to left, and Jackie Bradley singled to center. Things looked promising. But then Bryce Brentz pinch-hit for Travis Shaw and struck out swinging. Sandy Leon's single to center brought in one run, but Brock Holt struck out looking and - after Francisco Rodriguez took over on the hill - Mookie Betts hit into a fielder's choice.

Boston left 11 men on base in this frustrating loss, including a total of seven men in the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings. The Red Sox went quietly in the ninth, as Dustin Pedroia fanned, lunging at an outside pitch, Xander Bogaerts popped to short to end a nine-pitch at-bat, and Ortiz grounded back to the mound.

The Red Sox grabbed a 1-0 lead with two outs in the second as Bradley singled and scored on Travis Shaw's double into the right field corner. Drew Pomeranz (6-4-2-2-7, 99) pitched very well, allowing only two baserunners through the first five innings. Nick Castellanos doubled to begin the second inning, but Pomeranz left him there as he recorded two strikeouts and a foul pop to Leon. Miguel Cabrera led off the fourth with a single, but was erased in a double play.

Andrew Romine singled to center to open the Tigers sixth. With one out, Jose Iglesias lined a two-run homer down the left field line - and Boston's lead was history.

Joe Kelly pitched the seventh. He gave up a leadoff triple to Justin Upton, who later scored on James McCann's one-out single. Most of the eight pitches Kelly threw to McCann were 100+, which velocity I'm sure made Dave O'Brien, NESN's radar gun worshipper, giddy. However, what O'Brien seemingly doesn't understand (after watching decades of baseball) is that major league hitters can hit pitches that are 100+ - and McCann's single over the drawn-in Red Sox infield gave Detroit a 3-1 lead. The Tigers tacked on another run against Clay Buchholz in the eighth.

The Orioles beat the Rockies, so Boston dropped 2.5 GB.
Justin Verlander / Drew Pomeranz
Betts, RF
Pedroia, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Ortiz, DH
Ramirez, 1B
Bradley, CF
Shaw, 3B
Leon, C
Holt, LF
Hanley Ramirez was named AL Player of the Week after batting .333 (7-for-21) with six runs scored, five home runs and 12 RBIs over six games.

July 24, 2016

G96: Red Sox 8, Twins 7

Twins   - 020 100 220 - 7  9  1
Red Sox - 003 050 00x - 8 10  1
Hanley Ramirez and Travis Shaw each belted three-run homers as the Red Sox managed a split of the four-game series with Minnesota.

After Matt Barnes (who loaded the bases with none out in the eighth) and Junich Tazawa (who allowed two if those runners to score) helped Minnesota cut the Red Sox's lead down to one run, Brad Ziegler pitched a clean ninth, with two strikeouts, to close out the win.

Ramirez went deep in the third (his fifth home run in the last five games) and Shaw hit his shot in the fifth. ... Xander Bogaerts had three hits and scored twice. ... Dustin Pedroia singled, hit a solo homer, and scored twice.
Tommy Milone / Rick Porcello
Holt, RF
Pedroia, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Ramirez, DH
Bradley, CF
Hill, 3B
Shaw, 1B
Brentz, LF
Hanigan, C