June 26, 2016

G75: Rangers 6, Red Sox 2

Red Sox - 000 001 010 - 2  8  1
Rangers - 300 002 10x - 6 10  0
Clay Buchholz's first six batters: single, single, single, single, walk, single.

He then got a double play and, after an intentional walk, the third out. So allowing only three runs seemed almost like a positive thing. Buchholz (5.1-7-5-5-3, 97) managed to stick around until the sixth, when he surrendered a two-run dong to Prince Fielder, a home run that ruined Clay's chances of a Quality Start (!) and effectively sealed the Red Sox's fate.

Note: Buchholz threw a first-pitch strike to each of the first seven Texas hitters in that horrific first inning. While batters certainly fare better proceeding from a 1-0 count than from 0-1, sometimes that factoid, so often tossed out by broadcasters to illustrate a pitcher's success, is little more than bullshit.

Bryce Brentz (2-for-3) hit his first career home run in the sixth inning. David Ortiz drove in an eighth-inning run with a pinch-hit single.

The Orioles beat the Rays 12-5, so the Red Sox, while still in second place, dropped to 4 GB in the East.
Clay Buchholz / Martin Perez
Betts, RF
Pedroia, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Ramirez, 1B
Bradley, CF
Brentz, DH
Shaw, 3B
Leon, C
LaMarre, LF
Because the Orioles won two games yesterday, the Red Sox are now 3 GB. The Blue Jays are 4 GB.

June 25, 2016

G74: Rangers 10, Red Sox 3

Red Sox - 010 011 000 -  3  7  2
Rangers - 000 350 20x - 10 11  0

Steven Wright / A.J. Griffin
Betts, RF
Pedroia, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Ortiz, DH
Ramirez, 1B
Bradley, CF
Shaw, 3B
Brentz, LF
Vazquez, C
Elias:
The Red Sox rallied for four runs in the ninth inning to complete an 8-7 comeback victory over the Rangers. Boston, which trailed 6-0 at the end of the third inning, had lost its last 120 road games in which it trailed by six or more runs. The Red Sox' last comeback win of that kind on the road was on June 7, 2003 - Boston trailed in Milwaukee by six runs before rallying for an 11-10 victory.

The Red Sox trailed by three runs with two outs in the ninth inning before a RBI-double by Sandy Leon and a two-run homer by Mookie Betts tied up the score. No other team in the majors has won a game this season in which it trailed by three or more runs in the ninth inning or later and had recorded two outs. The last win of that kind for the Red Sox was on September 23, 2003, against the Orioles at Fenway Park. Todd Walker hit a game-tying three-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning, and David Ortiz hit a walkoff shot to lead off the bottom of the 10th.

June 24, 2016

G73: Red Sox 8, Rangers 7

Red Sox - 000 202 004 - 8  9  0
Rangers - 312 100 000 - 7 16  0
David Price had one of the worst starts of his career (2.1-12-6-0-1, 59), but somehow the Red Sox came back and won.

Top of the 9th, Boston down 7-4:
Diekman relieved Barnette.
Bradley (ccbbbff) walked.
Brentz (cf) struck out swinging.
Shaw (cbbff) popped out to shortstop.
León hit for Vázquez.
León (c - Bradley to second on indifference - bbffffbff) doubled to left, Bradley scored.
Bush relieved Diekman.
Betts (bc) homered to center, León and Betts scored.
Pedroia (sbbbf) walked.
Bogaerts (bfbbc) singled to right, Pedroia to third.
Ortiz (fsbb - wild pitch, Pedroia scored, Bogaerts to second - f) flied out to left.
Koji Uehara struck out the side, all three swinging, in the bottom of the ninth.

Earlier in the game, Hanley Ramirez hit a two-run homer in the fourth and Jackie Bradley belted a two-run dong in the sixth.
David Price / Nick Martinez
Betts, RF
Pedroia, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Ortiz, DH
Ramirez, 1B
Bradley, CF
Brentz, LF
Shaw, 3B
Vazquez, C
Another Boston left fielder has been hurt. After losing the services of Brock Holt and Blake Swihart, Boston placed Chris Young on the disabled list (right hamstring) and called up Bryce Brentz from Pawtucket.

June 23, 2016

G72: Red Sox 8, White Sox 7 (10)

White Sox - 200 101 300 0 - 7 15  2
Red Sox   - 000 014 110 1 - 8 12  1
The Red Sox trailed 4-1 in the sixth inning and 7-5 in the seventh, but rallied to tie the game. Xander Bogaerts got the game-winning hit in the tenth, knocking in Mookie Betts as Boston avoided a four-game sweep by the White Sox. Craig Kimbrel pitched two innings of relief, escaping a bases-loaded/no-outs jam in the top of the tenth.

James Shields / Rick Porcello
Betts, RF
Pedroia, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Ortiz, DH
Young, LF
Bradley, CF
Ramirez, 1B
Vazquez, C
Hernandez, 3B
Since being traded from the Padres to Chicago, "Big ERA James" has allowed 22 runs in 8.2 innings.

June 22, 2016

G71: White Sox 8, Red Sox 6

White Sox - 101 002 031 - 8 10  0
Red Sox   - 004 002 000 - 6 13  1
For my money, this was a worse loss than Monday's extra-inning defeat (which NESN's Dave O'Brien was still moaning about, calling it "wrenching". At one point, he estimated that the Red Sox had a 94% of scoring in that ninth inning, though how he came up with that number was not explained. (Looking at actual data from 2010-15, the chance of a run scoring in that situation was 86%.))

Anyway, Xander Bogaerts was robbed of a home run with two outs in the bottom of the eighth, a blast that would have tied the game at 7-7. Bogaerts drilled a pitch to left center and it appeared as though a fan touched the ball above the top of the wall. However, the hit was ruled a double. After David Ortiz was walked intentionally, Chris Young nearly drilled a three-run dong down the left field line, but that one sailed foul. Young struck out on the next pitch.

After the White Sox added another run in the top of the ninth, Jackie Bradley started the bottom half with a single, bringing the potential tying run to the plate three times. Hanley Ramirez struck out looking, Deven Marrero struck out swinging, and Sandy Leon grounded to shortstop.

Eduardo Rodriguez (6-4-4-2-7, 102) looked much better with his old mechanics. He allowed a first-inning run when Adam Eaton drew a one-out walk and scored on Melky Cabrera's double. (Cabrera went 4-for-5, with 4 RBI.) Jason Coats's first major league hit - a ground-rule double to right - began the top of the third, and Coats later scored on an infield error.

Boston's offense woke up in the bottom of the third. Leon walked (for the first of three times). Betts was credited with an infield single when Brett Lawrie tried a behind-the-back flip force play at second after diving for his ground ball (a regular flip might have recorded the out). Dustin Pedroia singled to right, and the bases were loaded. Bogaerts lined a single off the Wall for two runs. (O'Brien must have marked his scorecard incorrectly, because for the rest of the night, he referred to this hit as a double. NESN's graphics had it right when Bogaerts batted in the fourth, sixth, and eighth innings, but O'Brien called it wrong over and over and over.) Ortiz gave the Red Sox a 3-2 lead with a single to right. Bradley then drilled the ball off the pitcher's foot and into center field, and the fourth run of the inning scored.

Todd Frazier hit a two-run homer in the sixth, tying the game at 4-4. But the Red Sox attacked immediately. Ramirez lined a bullet into the Red Sox bullpen for his 6th home run of the season, giving Boston a 5-4 lead. Leon walked with one out, went to third on Pedroia's hit, and scored on Bogaerts's infield single, a dribbler down the third base line.

Koji Uehara came in for the eighth with a two-run cushion - and allowed three runs. Eaton singled and Cabrera homered with one out. Then, with two outs, Lawrie crushed a ball over the Monster Seats and Chicago led 7-6. That set up Bogaerts's blast in the eighth, which was clearly a blown call, in my opinion. (Also, home plate umpire Mike Estabrook was horrible inconsistent, blowing well over a dozen ball/strike calls from the first to the ninth.)
Jose Quintana / Eduardo Rodriguez
Betts, RF
Pedroia, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Ortiz, DH
Young, LF
Bradley, CF
Ramirez, 1B
Shaw, 3B
Leon, C
Rodriguez is going to go back to the delivery he was using last year. He had altered his mechanics in response to the knee injury he suffered in spring training.

Pitching coach Carl Willis:
He'd gone with a different delivery, which from the outset it was like, "You were really good," but you have to take into consideration the physical side, him returning from an injury. He's more comfortable with the old delivery, he feels like now there is no issue there and both he and we feel his delivery last year is a better delivery for him, so we started working on that ...
Rodriguez:
I feel like all my life I've been pitching like I pitched last year, and this year I changed a little bit, because I was scared with the knee. But now it's normal, so now I go back to my normal mechanics. ... Just working to get back to the mechanics I had last year from the windup and keep throwing strikes. Throw the ball where I want it, and that's it.

June 21, 2016

NESN: O'Brien's Exaggerations More Annoying Than Red Sox Losses

NESN's Dave O'Brien has an extremely bad habit of creating drama where none exists, of exaggerating (and sometimes fabricating) events in an attempt to make Red Sox broadcasts more compelling. It is utterly unnecessary and damages his reputation as a straight-shooting announcer.

During Tuesday's broadcast, O'Brien obsessed over the previous night's extra-inning loss to the White Sox. He called the defeat "brutal" and "heartbreaking". The fact that the Red Sox loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the ninth of a tie game and failed to score "boggles the mind" (1). Indeed, Red Sox fans were "shocked" the game hadn't ended with a walk-off win.

I'm not saying that watching the last two innings of Monday's loss was fun, but it was not heartbreaking - and if O'Brien had been a lifelong Red Sox fan like he claims (2), he should know a thing or two about heartbreaking baseball games.

Monday's loss was annoying, frustrating, exasperating ... but it was not a loss fans are going to agonize over for months and years. And it did not make Tuesday's game some kind of a must-win to save the 2016 season. It was a disappointing defeat to a mediocre team in mid-June. O'Brien was coming dangerously close to making it sound like Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS.

(1) During game threads years ago, having the Red Sox fail to score after loading the bases with no outs was happening so often, the frequent squander became known as "a Red Sox Special". So it obviously should not boggle any Boston fan's mind that it happens from time to time.

(2) I maintain that I heard O'Brien say (during a radio broadcast) that his favourite moment of the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry was Bucky Dent's home run. That is a peculiar choice, to say the least, for a Red Sox fan to make.

G70: White Sox 3, Red Sox 1

White Sox - 200 100 000 - 3  6  0
Red Sox   - 001 000 000 - 1  6  0
Clay Buchholz (5-4-3-1-5, 78) made his first start since May 26 and was drawing boos from the Fenway crowd after throwing only two pitches.

His first offering of the night was hit over the Monster Seats and onto Lansdowne Street by Tim Anderson. It was Anderson's first major league home run. Buchholz's second pitch was drilled off the left field wall by Adam Eaton for a double. Eaton eventually scored and that was all Chris Sale (7-4-1-1-9, 111) and the White Sox needed.

Boston got one run back in the third while squandering a chance to score more. Travis Shaw and Sandy Leon set the table with singles to right field. Shaw moved to third on Deven Marrero's fly to center and scored on Mookie Betts fly to left. Dustin Pedroia singled to left and Xander Bogaerts walked. With the bases loaded, Hanley Ramirez struck out swinging.

The White Sox made it 3-1 when Todd Frazier lined a home run to left (#20). It was the 14th home run allowed by Buchholz this season, tops on the Red Sox staff.

The Red Sox did not mount much of a threat until the eighth inning, against reliever Nate Jones. With out out, Pedroia and Bogaerts both singled to right. Ramirez struck out looking and Chicago closer David Robertson came in to get Jack Bradley on a first-pitch grounder to second. In the ninth, pinch-hitter David Ortiz walked with two outs, but Marco Hernandez, hitting for Marrero, struck out swinging.

The Red Sox are 7-11 in June.
Chris Sale / Clay Buchholz
Betts, RF
Pedroia, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Ramirez, DH
Bradley, CF
Young, LF
Shaw, 1B
Leon, C
Marrero, 3B