September 30, 2018

G162: Red Sox 10, Yankees 2

Yankees - 000 200 000 -  2  4  3
Red Sox - 430 300 00x - 10 13  0
Yankees starter Luis Cessa was pulled from the game with a possible injury after only 14 pitches, but the way the Red Sox had jumped on him, he may not have lasted much longer anyway.

Cessa allowed five hits to six batters and gave up four runs (0.1-5-4-0-0, 14). Cessa also was charged with an error, one of two the Yankees managed to commit during his short stint. Xander Bogaerts and J.D. Martinez hit home runs in the second and fourth innings, respectively, as Boston finished the regular season with a history-making 108-54 record.

After losing the first two games of the series, the Red Sox came out swinging in the first. Mookie Betts singled and scored when Brock Holt singled to right and Aaron Judge committed a fielding error. Martinez singled to right and scored (along with Holt) on Mitch Moreland's double. Eduardo Nunez reached on an infield single. Cessa rushed to cover the bag and ended up tumbling to the ground and then walking off the field.

The Yankees made their third error of the day before the first batter in the second inning had done anything. Brett Gardner dropped a foul fly by Jackie Bradley, who then singled to right. Holt doubled to left, scoring JBJ. With two outs, Bogaerts belted his 23rd home run to center, making it 7-0.

In the fourth, Justus Sheffield walked Tzu-Wei Lin and Holt with one out. Martinez drove an 0-1 pitch out of the park to center for his 43rd dong of the season.

Betts (1-for-2) was pulled from the game after taking the field in the third. Betts finished with a .346 average, the best in MLB. Martinez was #2, at .329. Only eight AL batters batted over .300. None of them wear pinstripes.

Betts is the first Red Sox player to lead the AL in average since Bill Mueller hit .326 in 2003 and the first to lead the majors since Wade boggs hit .366 in 1988. He is also the third player in Red Sox history to .340+ with 80+ extra-base hits, joining Ted Williams and Jimmie Foxx. (TSW did it four times.)

Rick Porcello (2-0-0-1-2, 40) faced seven batters, setting down the first five before issuing a walk. After that it was a revolving door, as Joe Kelly, Bobby Poyner, Eduardo Rodriguez, Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier, Drew Pomeranz, and Craig Kimbrel each pitched one inning. Every Red Sox pitcher recorded at least one strikeout as the Yankees fanned 15 times.
(TBA (but no one gives a shit)) Luis Cessa / Rick Porcello
Betts, RF
Holt, LF
Martinez, DH
Bogaerts, SS
Moreland, 1B
Núñez, 3B
Kinsler, 2B
León, C
Bradley, CF
And then we came to the end ... of the regular season.

Mookie Betts's .346 batting average leads the American League by 17 points. At the end of play today, he will be the first player in history to lead his league in batting average while also having a 30 homer/30 steal season. (Betts will actually lead both leagues in average since he is 22 points ahead of Milwaukee's Christian Yelich.)

Mookie is also only .011 behind Mike Trout for the top OPS in MLB (1.079 to 1.090).

For the first time, there are three teams in one league with 100 or more wins: Red Sox (107), Astros (103), Yankees (100). (Of course, for nearly 60 years, there were only eight AL teams, making such an occurrence pretty much impossible.) The most wins an NL team can have this year is 95.

Seasons With Three 100+-Win Teams
1942: Cardinals (106 wins, NL), Dodgers (104 wins, NL), Yankees (103 wins, AL)
1977: Royals (102 wins, AL), Phillies (101 wins, NL), Yankees (100 wins, AL)
1998: Yankees (114 wins, AL), Atlanta (106 wins, NL), Astros (102 wins, NL)
2002: Yankees (103 wins, AL), A's (103 wins, AL), Atlanta (101 wins, NL)
2003: Atlanta (101 wins, NL), Giants (101 wins, NL), Yankees (101 wins, AL)
2017: Dodgers (104 wins, NL), Cleveland (102 wins, AL), Astros (101 wins, AL)

September 29, 2018

G161: Yankees 8, Red Sox 5

Yankees - 100 330 100 - 8 13  0
Red Sox - 010 100 012 - 5 10  2
Eduardo Rodriguez and Brandon Workman each allowed four hits and three runs in relief. Boston clawed back in the final two innings, but fell short when Jackie Bradley - representing the potential tying run - struck out with runners at first and second.

Tommy Kahnle had a six-run lead, but he issued two walks and gave up an infield single in the bottom of the eighth. Boston trailed 8-2, but had the bases loaded with no outs. Bradley flied to left. Blake Swihart grounded out to second, and a run scored. Christian Vazquez was retired pitcher-to-first.

Tzu-Wei Lin opened the last of the ninth with a double to right off Jonathan Holder. Brock Holt homered and it was 8-5. When Sam Travis singled to center, a rally became more of a possibility. But Brandon Phillips struck out. Aroldis Chapman took over on the mound and struck out Mitch Moreland.

Travis advanced to second on indifference before Ian Kinsler walked (for the third time in the game). Bradley - who drove in the Red Sox's first run with a double - took a ball high, a called strike low and inside, then two balls down and away. On 2-2, he swung and missed a slider down the heart of the plate.
Lance Lynn Domingo German / Nathan Eovaldi
Benintendi, LF
Holt, SS
Martinez, DH
Devers, 3B
Moreland, 1B
Kinsler, 2B
Bradley, CF
Swihart, RF
Vázquez, C
In addition to starting Domingo German over Lance Lynn today, the Yankees have scratched Luis Severino from tomorrow's start. ... Nathan Eovaldi - and Sunday's starter, Rick Porcello - will pitch roughly three innings.

Fun Mets Fact:
Noah Syndergaard has a 2.84 ERA in his 12 wins.
Jacob deGrom has a 2.71 ERA in his 9 losses.
deGrom also has a 1.62 ERA in his 13 no-decisions.

From April 21 to June 2, deGrom made eight starts and posted a 0.57 ERA. The Mets went 2-6.

Orioles Are Only The Sixth Team Since 1900 To Lose 113 Games

Losing 113 games in one season is hard to do. It has happened only six times since 1900.

The 2018 Orioles are one of those six teams.

Chronological (Since 1900)
1904 Washington Senators    38-113  .252   55.5 GB
1916 Philadelphia A's       36-117  .235   54.5 GB
1935 Boston Braves          38-115  .248   61.5 GB
1962 New York Mets          40-120  .250   60.5 GB
2003 Detroit Tigers         43-119  .265   47.0 GB
2018 Baltimore Orioles      46-113  .289   60.5 GB   (2 games remaining)
Number of Losses (Since 1900)
1962 New York Mets          40-120  .250   60.5 GB
2003 Detroit Tigers         43-119  .265   47.0 GB
1916 Philadelphia A's       36-117  .235   54.5 GB
1935 Boston Braves          38-115  .248   61.5 GB
1904 Washington Senators    38-113  .252   55.5 GB
2018 Baltimore Orioles      46-113  .289   60.5 GB   (2 games remaining)

There was a five-week period earlier in the season (May 26-June 30) in which the Orioles did not win a game against an American League team.

They are a Jacob Bogage, Washington Post, September 21, 2018:
Wins above average

This is fancy way of measuring how one player, both offensively and defensively, measures up to the Major League average at his position. For the Orioles, the numbers aren't pretty.

The Orioles' everyday lineup has a WAA of -23.3, according to That means if Manager Buck Showalter had just started an average fielder and hitter at each position, Baltimore would have won 23 more games.


Earlier This Month, The New York Post Published This Front Page

The Page Six story from September 12 also refers to the band as the "Fap Four".

September 28, 2018

G160: Yankees 11, Red Sox 6

Yankees - 002 600 210 - 11 13  1
Red Sox - 000 004 011 -  6  6  1
You don't really want to hear about this one, do you? ... I really don't want to take the time to tell you.

One thing to know is that all six of the Yankees' runs in the fourth inning came against William Cuevas, who come next week, will be at home like the rest of us, watching the ALDS.

Steve Pearce drove in five runs, four of them coming on a grand slam off J.A. Happ (6-4-4--2-7, 88). He has hit five home runs in nine games against the Yankees this year. ... Drew Pomeranz looked good as he retired seven batters in a row, but then gave up a homer, single, and walk.

The MFY's victory means the AL Wild Card Game will be played in New York. ... The Yankees' four home runs gave them 264 for the season, tying the 1997 Mariners for the single-season record. ... They had only three zeroes in their AB-R-H-RBI box score.

J.A. Happ / Brian Johnson
Betts, CF
Benintendi, LF
Martinez, RF
Bogaerts, SS
Pearce, 1B
Devers, 3B
Núñez, DH
Kinsler, 2B
Swihart, C
The Red Sox go into their final series of the regular season with a shot at 110 wins. They also might be playing as many as eight consecutive games against the Yankees between now and October 11. (That's obviously unprecedented.)

AL Wild Card Game: The Yankees (98-61) are two games up on the Athletics (96-63) for the right to host next Wednesday's all-or-nothing game. Oakland will likely have to sweep its series against the Angels to have a shot at home field advantage. If the teams finish in a tie, intradivison records will be the tiebreaker - and the Yankees come out on top. They have gone 42-31 against the AL East while Oakland is 37-36 against the AL West. (New York and Oakland split their six games during the season).

The best thing - obviously - would be for the Red Sox and Athletics to sweep their respective series. A distant second choice would be if the Yankees had to: (a) play in Boston on Sunday afternoon; (b) fly across the country and play in Oakland on Wednesday night; and (c) fly back across the country and play in Boston on Friday night.

September 27, 2018

Baseball Picture Of The Week

By Courtney Culbreath

Another angle:

By David Richard

Grant Brisbee: "You don't need to know where the baseball is. It is far, far away."

This was the game.

September 26, 2018

The Red Sox's Latest Offensive Accomplishments

Rafael Devers drove in six runs in Wednesday afternoon's 19-3 rout of the Orioles. He is the first Red Sox player age 21 or younger to have 5+ RBI in a game since Tony Conigliaro (August 11, 1966).

What's really amazing is the similarities in the Red Sox's linescores from those two games:
August 11, 1966    - 200 232 22x - 13-3 win over Cleveland
September 27, 2018 - 500 232 34x - 19-3 win over Orioles
Red Sox Players With 20+ HR In A Season Before Turning Age 22
Ted Williams – 1939
Tony Conigliaro – 1964
Tony Conigliaro – 1965
Tony Conigliaro – 1966
Rafael Devers – 2018
For only the fourth time in American League history, a team had 14 extra-base hits. The Red Sox are three of those four teams.
17 - June 8, 1950 - Red Sox 29, Browns 4 (9 doubles, 1 triple, 7 home runs) 
15 - July 13, 1996 - Cleveland 19, Twins 11 (12 doubles, 3 home runs)
14 - September 24, 1940 (G1) - Red Sox 16, Athletics 8 (5 doubles, 3 triples, 6 home runs)
14 - September 26, 2018 (G1) - Red Sox 19, Orioles 3 (9 doubles, 5 home runs)
Here is a list of the previous 13 times it has been done (MLB).

The first game of the DH was the 89th time the Red Sox had scored 5+ runs in a game. They are 79-10 (.888) in those games, including 59-4 (.937) since May 16, and 21-0 since August 10.

The 2018 Red Sox are the first team since 1900 to have three players - age 25 or younger - hit 40+ doubles in a season: Mookie Betts (47), Xander Bogaerts (44), and Andrew Benintendi (40).

Betts leads the majors in WAR, according to both Baseball-Reference (10.7) and FanGraphs (9.9), as of Tuesday night. The BRef number would be the 3rd-highest single-season WAR for a Red Sox position player, trailing only Carl Yastrzemski (12.5 in 1967) and Ted Williams (10.9 in 1946).

Most RBI in First Season With Red Sox
Ted Williams  – 145 (1939)
Jimmie Foxx   – 143 (1936)
Vern Stephens – 137 (1948)
J.D. Martinez – 127 (2018)
Manny Ramirez – 125 (2001)
J.D. Martinez is the 9th Red Sox player to record 127+ RBI in a season.

The Red Sox are 51-22 (.699) against the other four AL East teams. In the Divisional Era (since 1969), the 1998 Yankees hold the best single-season winning percentage for any AL East team within the division (.688, 33-15). The Red Sox would have to sweep the Yankees in this weekend's three-game series to top that record.

G159: Orioles 10, Red Sox 3

Orioles - 200 010 304 - 10 10  1
Red Sox - 100 110 000 -  3  6  1
I cannot get too worked up over the final score - or that Chris Sale (4.2-4-3-1-8, 92) hit two of the first four batters in the first inning - but these two pitching lines are troubling:
           IP   H   R  BB   K   BF   PIT
Barnes    0.1   4   3   1   1    6    24  (12 balls, 12 strikes)
Kimbrel   0.1   0   4   3   0    5    27  (15 balls, 12 strikes)
Top of the 9th against Craig Kimbrel:
Villar (sbfbbb) walked.
Mancini (fbc - Villar stole second) flied to RF, Villar to third.
Jones (b - Villar scored on Kimbrel wild pitch - f) hit by pitch.
Peterson (bbsfbb) walked, Jones to second.
Stewart (fbsfbbfb) walked, Jones to third, Peterson to second.
Scott relieved Kimbrel.
Only one of Kimbrel's pitches was incorrectly called - and it was in his favour, a gift called strike on Mancini. All three of Kimbrel's baserunners scored when Robby Scott gave up a ground-rule double and a single.
Jimmy Yacabonis / Chris Sale
Bradley, CF
Holt, 3B
Pearce, 1B
Devers, DH
Swihart, RF
Phillips, 2B
Vázquez, C
Travis, LF
Lin, SS
To no one's surprise, the Red Sox announced that Sale will start ALDS Game 1 at Fenway Park on October 5, a week from this Friday.

G158: Red Sox 19, Orioles 3

Orioles - 030 000 000 -  3  8  0
Red Sox - 500 322 34x - 19 22  0

Rafael Devers (4-for-5) hit two home runs, a double, and a single. He drove in a career-best six runs.

Xander Bogaerts's four RBI gave him 100 for the first time in his career. He hit a two-run homer in the sixth.

J.D. Martinez belted a three-run shot in the fourth. His 42nd home run of the year tied Dick Stuart (1963) for the most dong by a player in his first season with the Red Sox. JDM also doubled, singled, and scored three times.

Mookie Betts (2-for-2) stole his 30th base of the season, joining Jacoby Ellsbury (2011) as the only Red Sox players with a 30 SB/30 HR season. Betts also began an 8-6-2 play that nailed a runner at the plate to end the third. Betts is batting .346; no Boston batter has topped .350 since Nomar Garciaparra hit .372 in 2000.

Every Red Sox starter had at least one hit and scored at least one run. Nine different players doubled and four hit home runs.

Ryan Meisinger (0.1-4-5-1-0, 21) faced only six batters in his first major league start (and 17th appearance), as Boston batted around in the first inning. Jace Peterson, a Jack-Of-All-Trades who has played five positions this season, pitched the bottom of the eighth and allowed four runs.

The Red Sox's rallies in the fourth and eighth innings began with no one on base and two outs. In the fifth, they mixed it up, scoring twice before making an out. Devers and Baa-la-kay Swihart opened the seventh with back-to-back home runs. Devers also homered in the eighth.

David Price's (5-6-3-3-6, 88) only bad inning was the second, in which he walked four batters and gave up two home runs. However, he got out of a bases-loaded/one-out jam, with a strikeout and a force play, leaving three men on.
Ryan Meisinger / David Price
Betts, CF
Benintendi, LF
Martinez, DH
Bogaerts, SS
Moreland, 1B
Kinsler, 2B
Devers, 3B
Swihart, RF
León, C
This is the makeup of last night's postponement, the first game of a day-night doubleheader.

Red Sox Seasons With .650+ Winning Percentage
1912:  105-47-2    .691    Won World Series
2018:  106-51      .675    ?                    (5 games remaining)
1946:  104-50-2    .675    Lost World Series
1915:  101-50-4    .669    Won World Series
1903:   91-47-3    .659    Won World Series
If the Red Sox win all five of their remaining games, their .685 winning percentage would rank 19th all-time (since 1900).

In the last 50 years, only four teams have finished above .670: 1969 Orioles, 1995 Cleveland, 1998 Yankees, and 2001 Mariners.

September 25, 2018

Jerry Remy Will Visit The NESN Booth For An Inning Tomorrow Night

Jerry Remy said today that he will drop by the NESN booth for an inning during tomorrow night's game:
"Final session of radiation today👍 Will be on NESN tomorrow night to join the guys for a inning. Looking forward to visiting Fenway."
Remy also has uploaded about 300 photos and videos to Instagram. This one was taken at Toronto's Exhibition Stadium in 1977:

G158: Orioles at Red Sox, PPD.

Orioles - 
Red Sox - 
Tonight's game has been postponed. The teams will play a day-night doubleheader tomorrow (1 PM and 7 PM).
Jimmy Yacabonis / David Price

Dave O'Brien Claims The Dodgers Won "A Lot" Of 1-0 Games With Davey Lopes Stealing Second Base And Scoring The Only Run. ... The Actual Number Of Times This Happened In 10 Years? Zero.

Mookie Betts stole second base in the fourth inning of last night's 6-2 victory over the Orioles. His head-first slide prompted this conversation from NESN's Dave O'Brien and Dennis Eckersley:
Eckersley: I hate those head-long dives, but that's the way you got to get them. I used to watch Davey Lopes. He never would go in head-first. You remember Davey Lopes, with the Dodgers?

O'Brien: Sure, oh yeah.

Eckersley: He never slowed down on his slide. He had the quickest little slide on his -- feet slide.

O'Brien: The Dodgers won a lot of 1-0 games because he'd get on, steal a base, and someone would drive him in with a sac fly.

Eckersley: Yeah, he was stealing bags when I played with him, when he was 40 years old. He could still run.
(Sidenote: Eckersley's memory remains as solid as ever. He and Lopes were teammates on the 1985 Cubs. At age 40 that year, Lopes stole 47 bases.)

Lopes broke in with the Dodgers in 1972 and played for them until 1981. He stole 418 of his 557 career bases with Los Angeles.

So what about O'Brien's authoritative statement? How many 1-0 games did the Dodgers win during the ten seasons Lopes was in Los Angeles?

Thanks to Baseball Reference, I can tell you the answer is 21. This link includes the 25 games won by the Dodgers by a 1-0 score between 1972-1981. However, Lopes was not yet in the majors for the first four.

We can see that the Dodgers had no stolen bases in 15 of those 21 games, so O'Brien's claim is already in serious trouble. Also, I gave away the answer in the post's title, but let's go through all of the games anyway:
September 22, 1972: Lopes goes 0-for-5 in his major league debut. Tom Paciorek scores the run.

April 21, 1973: Lopes plays one half-inning in the field, but does not bat.

July 16, 1973: Lopes goes 2-for-4, but steals no bases. Willie Crawford hits a home run.

August 9, 1973: Lopes goes 1-for-4. He triples in the eighth and scores on Manny Mota's single.

April 25, 1974: Lopes goes 0-for-3. He walks in the first, goes to third on Bill Buckner's single, and scores on Jimmy Wynn's sac fly.

May 14, 1974: Lopes goes 0-for-3. He walks in the first and is thrown out trying to steal. Ron Cey scores the run.

May 18, 1974: Lopes goes 2-for-6. He singles in the bottom of the thirteenth, advances to third on two groundouts and scores on Steve Garvey's single.

September 10, 1974: Lopes goes 0-for-4. Steve Garvey scores the run.

June 23, 1976: Lopes did not play.

July 25, 1976: Lopes goes 1-for-4. He doubles in the first and is stranded at third. Bill Russell scores the run.

September 29, 1976: Lopes goes 0-for-3. Bill Buckner scores the run.

July 16, 1977: Lopes did not play.

August 10, 1977: Lopes goes 1-for-2. He singles in the first and is stranded at second. He walks in the third, is caught stealing second but is safe on an error, goes to third on a sacrifice bunt, and scores on Reggie Smith's single. He walks in the fifth and is stranded at second.

August 14, 1977: Lopes goes 0-for-3. He walks in the fifth and is stranded at third. Reggie Smith scores the run.

September 24, 1977: Lopes goes 0-for-4. Dusty Baker scores the run.

June 23, 1978: Lopes goes 2-for-4. He singles in the third and is forced at second. He singles in the seventh and is stranded at first. Steve Garvey hits a home run.

September 3, 1979: Lopes goes 1-for-3. He walks in the first and is forced at second. He triples in the sixth and is stranded at third. Dusty Baker scores the run.

June 15, 1980: Lopes goes 0-for-2. He walks in the fourth, moves to second on another walk, and goes to third on a groundout. He is stranded at third. Reggie Smith scores the run.

September 5, 1980: Lopes goes 1-for-4. He singles in the third and is thrown out trying to steal (1-3-6-3-1-4).

April 22, 1981: Lopes did not play. Pedro Guerrero scores the run.

May 8, 1981: Lopes goes 0-for-4. Ken Landreaux scores the run.
In his Dodgers career, Lopes scored the only run in a 1-0 win four times: August 9, 1973, April 25, 1974, May 18, 1974, and August 10, 1977.

Only once in those four games did he attempt to steal a base. In that case, he was thrown out, but ruled safe on an error.

Dave O'Brien claimed the Dodgers won "a lot" of 1-0 games in which Lopes stole a base and came around to score the game's only run.

The Dodgers actually won zero games like that.

Umpire Tim Timmons Should See An Optometrist As Soon As Possible

Umpire Tim Timmons was behind the plate on Monday night for the Orioles/Red Sox game at Fenway Park.

He made several shockingly bad calls, including at least five of Dylan Bundy's pitches in the first three innings. All of them were in the strike zone, but Timmons called each one a "ball".

One of them came in the top of the third, when Bundy threw an inning-ending called strike three to Brock Holt, but Timmons had no clue. You could just about hear NESN's Dennis Eckersley shaking his head in disapproval as he said, "Tim, Tim, Tim ..."

Timmons's incompetence could have led to more runs for the Red Sox as Holt eventually walked. But Bundy got the next batter to foul out, so Timmons's error "only" cost Bundy an extra eight pitches.

Bundy facing J.D. Martinez, first inning, pitch #5:

Bundy to Rafael Devers, second inning, pitch #4

Bundy to Brock Holt, third inning, pitch #5:

Bundy facing Christian Vazquez, third inning, pitch #3:

Ryan Brasier facing Corban Joseph, 8th inning, pitch #1:

September 24, 2018

G157: Red Sox 6, Orioles 2

Orioles - 000 010 010 - 2  7  1
Red Sox - 040 200 00x - 6 10  0
The Red Sox set a franchise record on Monday night by winning their 106th game of the season.

They are the first team to win as many as 106 games since the 2001 Mariners set the American League record with 116. They also clinched home field advantage through the entire postseason.

The 1912 Red Sox won 105 games back when teams played a 154-game schedule. Since the 162-game schedule was instituted in 1961, no Red Sox team had won 100 games until this year. The previous top totals came in: 1978 (99 wins), 2004 (98), and 1977 and 2013 (97).

Mookie Betts continued his torrid hitting, cranking his 32nd home run (a career-high). He also stole his 29th base of the year and scored two runs. His single in the fourth inning was his 10th hit in his previous 14 at-bats. Betts has a good chance at ending the regular season with the highest slugging percentage for a leadoff hitter in baseball history. Brady Anderson set the mark in 1996: .627. Betts is currently at .639.

Over the weekend in Cleveland, Betts became the only first Red Sox player to have four or more hits and at least three extra-base hits in consecutive games. He is only the ninth player to do so since 1908.

And how about this crazy factoid from Elias:
Most Games With 3+ Extra-Base Hits Before Turning 26 Years Old (since 1900):

1. Mookie Betts – 17
T2. Lou Gehrig – 14
T2. Jimmie Foxx – 14
T4. Mel Ott – 13
T4. Alex Rodriguez – 13
Betts also served up the straight dope in a post-game on-field interview:
Guerin Austin (NESN): "Mookie, tonight you guys break a franchise record with 106 wins. What does that say about this club?

Betts: "Uhh, it just means we're pretty good."
Also: This was the first major league game in almost 80 years in which the two teams were separated by as many as 60 wins (Boston 105, Baltimore 45)! On September 17, 1939, the Yankees (98-41) faced the St. Louis Browns (38-99).

The Red Sox scored four times in the second inning off Dylan Bundy (3-5-4-3-5). Steve Pearce and Brock Holt hit back-to-back doubles with one out. Christian Vázquez singled home Holt for a 2-0 lead. With two down, Betts hit a high fly into the Monster Seats. Bundy threw 90 pitches in three innings: 25-34-31.

Lefty Donnie Hart started the fourth and Orioles manager Buck Showalter was soon thinking he should have stayed with Bundy. Jackie Bradley's ground ball clanked off Jonathan Villar's glove at shortstop for a single. Betts lined a single to right and JBJ went to third. Betts stole second and Andrew Benintendi ripped a single past second baseman Steve Wilkerson. Bradley scored and after J.D. Martinez walked, Xander Bogaerts singled home Betts. With the bases loaded, Rafael Devers grounded back to Hart, who started a rarely-seen 1-2-5 double play, which meant Devers was safe on a fielder's choice.

The Red Sox's bats were quiet after that, but it did not matter as Nathan Eovaldi (5-4-1-0-10, 84) dominated, tying a career high with 10 strikeouts. He struck out two batters in the second, third, and fourth innings (one looking and one swinging in each frame), and after giving up two singles to start the fifth, he struck out the next three Orioles. Eovaldi also threw two wild pitches in that inning, one of which brought in an enemy run.

Joe Kelly faced four batters in the eighth and gave up a single and two walks. Baltimore scored a run on a sac fly against Ryan Brasier, but Brasier picked off Villar to end the inning.

The Red Sox saw 119 pitches in the first four innings, but late in the game, they were far less patient. Sean Gilmartin, who pitched the last four innings for the Orioles, needed only four pitches in the eighth: a called strike, followed by three infield grounders.

It wouldn't be a proper Red Sox game without NESN missing at least one pitch (Adam Jones's fly to right in the fourth) and engaging in some excessive zooming (on a pitch up and in to Vázquez in the fifth).

Dave O'Brien mentioned the July 25 game in Baltimore that was washed away after 1.5 innings. He said the Red Sox scored five runs off Bundy "in the blink of an eye". It actually took ten batters over two innings.

Dennis Eckersley treated us to "sinkage", "emergency piece", "bridge ball", and "high hair", as well as numerous examples of beginning a comment at Point A and ending somewhere around Point ZXQ. If you diagrammed Eck's sentence structure, it would look like a ball of string a kitten has played with.
Dylan Bundy / Nathan Eovaldi
Betts, RF
Benintendi, LF
Martinez, DH
Bogaerts, SS
Devers, 3B
Pearce, 1B
Holt, 2B
Vázquez, C
Bradley, CF
The Orioles "gained ground" on the Red Sox yesterday and now sit only 59.5 games behind Boston. That number must get back over 60 immediately.


Could Anything Top This Tweet As 'Exhibit A' In The Argument To "Kill The Win"?

The Ace of Spaeder:

The two longest streaks of consecutive starts with three or fewer runs allowed:

Jake Arrieta (Cubs) - 29 games - 24-1 record during streak
Jacob deGrom (Mets) - 28 games - 7-9 record during streak

September 23, 2018

G156: Cleveland 4, Red Sox 3 (11)

Red Sox   - 101 010 000 00 - 3  8  3
Cleveland - 000 300 000 01 - 4  9  0
There cannot be too many games in which the Red Sox's fourth pitcher of the day/night throws 93 pitches. William Cuevas (5.1-2-1-3-4, 93) took the mound in the sixth and weathered several storms before leaving with two men on in the eleventh. An intentional walk put Robby Scott on the hot seat, with the bases loaded and one out.

Scott got ahead of Greg Allen 1-2 before the count was full. Allen fouled a pitch down the third base line before grounding Scott's eighth pitch past the drawn-in infield and into left field for a single, giving Cleveland its second consecutive extra-inning walkoff victory over the Red Sox.

If the Red Sox are to set a new team record with 106 (or more) wins - and they will have six chances - they will do so at Fenway Park.

Mookie Betts had four hits and is 8-for-11 in his last two games, with four doubles, two home runs, and two singles. He cracked a "Baltimore Dong" to leadoff the game and later scored on a wild pitch. His single in the third was part of a rally that saw Christian Vazquez score on Rafael Devers' groundout.

Hector Velazquez (3.1-4-2-0-3, 54) worked out of a jam in the second after Edwin Encarnacion tripled to center with none out. Jackie Bradley slipped while approaching the liner and it bounced over his glove.

When ESPN's Matt Vasgersian reported it was EE's first triple of the season, Jessica Mendoza added, "And it was a stand-up [triple]." ESPN's replay promptly showed Encarnacion making a textbook slide into third. No one in the ESPN booth is worth listening to, however. As the top of the fourth ended, video of the Red Sox's locker room celebration for clinching the East was shown and Vasgersian intoned: "Champaigne wishes and caviar dreams and three straight division titles for the Red Sox." Caviar dreams? Alex Rodriguez called Francisco Lindor "a five-tool player ... no, a six-tool player". The sixth tool was the most important, according to Slappy. That tool - more essential than hitting for power or baserunning or fielding - was ... Lindor's "leadership" and his "smile". No word on whether his eyes are calm. Watching a game on mute is not generally preferred, but on Sunday nights, it is essential.

... Where was I? Oh, right, man on third, no outs. Josh Donldson grounded to shortstop. Xander Bogaerts moved to his right, gloved the ball and threw on the run to nail Encarnacion at the plate. (X's play was positively Lindor-esque! This is your first warning that Lindor is going to get the Jeter/Judge treatment this October. It is going to be over-the-top and constant and inescapable (maybe even after Cleveland gets eliminated). When the Red Sox batted in the top of the third, ESPN's taped interview with Lindor pushed the actual live game into a box that covered perhaps one-third of the screen. Between pitches, the interview was full-screen. That was some serious bullshit. SHOW THE GAME! If the interview is so important, run it between innings instead of commercials!) Yonder Alonso singled, but Melky Cabrera hit into a double play.

Michael Brantley singled to start the fourth and went to second on Velazquez's errant pickoff attempt. With Encarnacion batting, a wild pitch put Brantley on third and he scored on EE's one-out single. Steven Wright relieved Velazquez and struck out Donaldson, but a passed ball on strike three moved the runner to second. Alonso singled to center and Encarnacion went to third; Alonso advanced to second when Bradley's throw sailed over the catcher for an error. Cabrera doubled into the right-field corner, giving Cleveland a 3-2 lead. (Wright had not allowed a run since coming back from the disabled list (7 games, 10 innings.)

Betts led off the fifth with his 31st home run, a 409-foot blast to center than tied the game. Jon Edwards walked the first two Red Sox batters in the eighth. With two outs, Neil Ramirez hit Bradley on the foot with a pitch, loading the bases for Vazquez. But S.N. turned out to be a nobody, fouling off three pitches before popping to second.

Cuevas took over after Wright walked the leadoff man in the sixth and got a strikeout and a double play. In the seventh, after walking Cabrera, Cuevas struck out Jason Kipnis and Vazquez gunned down pinch-runner Allen at second. He also threw out Rajai Davis in the ninth.

Bogaerts left the game during his at-bat in the seventh, with discomfort in his left shoulder. Tzu-Wei Lin replaced him and doubled with two outs in the ninth. Devers was intentionally walked and Steve Pearce grounded out pitcher-to-first.

Kipnis doubled off Cuevas with one out in the tenth. Eric Haase reached on an infield hit to Lin. The Red Sox challenged the call, but it was upheld (the play was impossible to call even on the super-slo-mo replay, but it appeared that Mitch Moreland did not have full control of the ball). Lindor fouled off five of six pitches before grounded to second, moving the runners to second and third. Cuevas got Brantley to swing and miss before throwing two balls and getting a grounder to first.

In the eleventh, Cuevas walked Jose Ramirez and Davis bunted him to second. Erik Gonzalez grounded to shortstop. Lin came in and to his left, but the ball hit off his glove and he could not grab it in time to make a throw. Scott came in with runners at first and third. Pinch-hitter Yandy Diaz was intentionally walked. Scott got a strike call on a pitch off the plate to Allen. He threw a ball inside and low, Allen fouled off two pitches and Scott threw two balls, running the count full. Allen fouled off another pitch. Vazquez and Scott talked things over on the mound, but Allen grounded the next pitch into left.
Hector Velazquez / Adam Plutko
Betts, RF
Benintendi, LF
Bogaerts, SS
Devers, 3B
Pearce, DH
Moreland, 1B
Kinsler, 2B
Bradley, CF
Vázquez, C
The Red Sox (105-50) will try to set a new franchise record for wins tonight in their final road game of the regular season.

The Red Sox have six home games remaining: three against the Orioles (Monday-Wednesday) and three against the Yankees (Friday-Sunday). They will then be off for four* days before hosting Game 1 of the ALDS on Friday, October 5, against either the Yankees or the Athletics.

Where that Wild Card Game will be played remains undecided, with the MFY holding a 1.5-game lead over Oakland.

(*: Friday's game likely will be played at night, so would they actually be off for five days (Monday through most of Friday)?)

Update on 2018 W-L Contest: JoS readers have always been optimistic when it comes to predicting the Red Sox's regular-season record. However, the 2018 team left even the most hopeful outcomes in the dust. All but two of the predictions in this year's contest ranged from 92 to 102 wins. (I had them at 95.)

September 22, 2018

I Watched NESN For The First Time In 18 Days. Nothing Has Changed.

A blissful 18 days had passed since I last heard Dave O'Brien's voice on NESN. While watching Saturday night's extra-inning loss to Cleveland, I discovered - (not) much to my surprise - that neither O'Brien nor the network for whom he works has changed much in the last three weeks.

NESN has been burned numerous times in the past by focusing on an outfielder as the ball sails over the fence or showing the second deck when the ball is about to be caught by an outfielder well in front of the warning track. The network now begins every play with a much wider shot of the field, guaranteeing that the action will be shown, even if the players look like ants. You often feel like you're sitting the last row of the upper deck when watching a fly ball on NESN.

B1, first batter: NESN's high-home camera trupes us on Francisco Lindor's fly to center, filling most of the screen with the area beyond the outfield wall. Jackie Bradley makes a routine catch on the warning track.

B2, second batter: Yonder Alonso hits a tremendous home run into the second deck flies to right.

NESN's Dennis Eckersley: "I thought that ball was gone." ... Note to Eck: Stop watching the NESN feed!

B2, third batter: Melky Cabrera grounds a single to right. NESN is very slow to switch from the center field camera (showing the pitch) to the high-home camera (showing the ball going through the infield). NESN is often slow on these plays, sometimes switching on routine grounders as the infielder grabbed the ball.

B2, fourth batter: Yan Gomes doubles to the base of the left field wall. Andrew Benintendi has to lunge to his right to snag the carom.

But just as Benintendi gloves the ball, NESN switches cameras to show us Josh Donaldson jogging to the plate from third base with the game's first run. Donaldson could have walked from third to home and scored without a play, so why does NESN think showing him is more important than what Benintendi did after he fielded the ball with the batter-runner on his way to second base?

Once Donaldson has scored, we get to see the ball sailing into the infield. NESN, while so intent on giving us visual proof that the run scored, is not so prompt on updating its on-screen bug.

B2, fifth batter: Jason Kipnis lines out to first. NESN makes sure the play is in view by showing the entire right side of the field (and then some). That's less-than-ideal camera work on four straight plays.

B6, first batter: Alonso flies to center. NESN starts off with a view of (nearly) the entire field, as well as the huge video scoreboard, most of the three decks in right, and approximately 18% of the city of Cleveland.

But NESN must hedge its bets. Will the ball be caught? Will it sail 150 feet beyond the fence? Who can possibly know? NESN keeps two outfielders in the shot but also shows a shitton of real estate beyond the fence in case it's a history-making, 725-foot, tape-measure shot.

It only dares to zoom in as Bradley throws the ball back to the infield.

O'Brien was his usual self, mentioning home runs about 427 times. (Sorry for the estimate. I lost count in the seventh inning.)

While part of Eckersley's appeal is that he's so in-the-moment - he is truly the anti-OB - that spontaneous attitude can result in some silly comments. In the eighth, Eck discussed Alonso: "He's hit two balls tonight that could have been home runs." He was referring to a fly to the track in right in the second and a fly to Bradley on the track in right-center in the sixth (both shown above).

Yeah, they could have been home runs - if only he had hit them over the fence! That's like saying Player X grounded out four times, but he could have been 4-for-4 if the infielders had not caught the ball and thrown him out every time. Re Alonso: If there had been no outfielders, neither fly ball would have been a dong.

With Ramirez batting in the third, Eckersley noted that Rick Porcello had thrown "a ton" of off-speed pitches to that point. (Gameday had 16 fastballs among Porcello's 38 pitches.) O'Brien quickly agreed: "Absolutely." But O'Brien had not mentioned it before Eckersley had brought it up. This happens a lot. Eckerlsey offers an insight and O'Brien - wanting to appear equally observant - immediately acts like "Yep, I've noticed that exact same thing", but for some odd reason, he saw no reason to share that observation with the viewing audience before Eck spoke.

In the top of the first, O'Brien said Oakland's Khris Davis has hit 45 home runs, four more than J.D. Martinez. He also noted that Davis is within five RBI of Martinez (124-119), saying that's the "closest that [race] has been for a long time".
Through September 21: Martinez 124, Davis 119 (difference of 5 RBI)
Through August 21: Martinez 106, Davis 103 (difference of 3 RBI)
Through July 31: Martinez 89, Davis 84 (difference of 5 RBI)
Through June 21: Martinez 55, Davis 49 (difference of 6 RBI)
I'm not sure if anyone other than Davis was closer to Martinez's RBI total at any time. What I do know is this: Nothing O'Brien says should be assumed to be accurate.

G155: Cleveland 5, Red Sox 4 (11)

Red Sox   - 001 100 020 00 - 4  8  1
Cleveland - 021 100 000 01 - 5 12  1
The celebration of Win 106 will have to wait at least one more day.

Joe Kelly escaped a two-on-no-out jam in the bottom of the tenth, but Drew Pomeranz could not do the same in the eleventh. After two singles from the bottom of Cleveland's order, the runners pulled off a double steal with Francisco Lindor at the plate. After Lindor was intentionally walked, Michael Brantley singled on a fly to left field for a Cleveland victory.

The Red Sox had tied the game at 4-4 in the eighth on Andrew Benintendi's two-out, two-run single. But Boston managed only one baserunner over the next three innings, a meaningless two-out hit from J.D. Martinez in the ninth. Rafael Devers and Blake Swihart hit solo homers in the early innings.

The evening was a rough slog for Rick Porcello (5-8-4-2-1, 84), who relied heavily on his off-speed pitches and was hit hard and often. In addition to giving up four hits in the second inning, two of the three outs came on a long fly to right and a liner smoked to first; the other out was a runner gunned down at the plate. Porcello was aided by double plays in the both the third and fourth, but gave up a run in each frame anyway.

Mike Clevinger (5-3-2-5-6, 103) had an odd outing, as the Red Sox did not put any of his first 37 pitches into play (three walks, three strikeouts, one HBP). Through three innings, Clevinger had thrown 73 pitches, and only five had been hit into fair territory.

After Robby Scott allowed a single to start the seventh, Brian Johnson took over. Of his 23 pitches, 16 were balls; he left three men on base without allowing a run. Lindor (3-1 count) grounded to shortstop. Brantley (3-1) flied to left. Jose Ramirez walked on four pitches. Edwin Encarnacion (3-1) walked. Josh Donaldson (2-1) popped to right.

Mitch Moreland reached on a checked-swing single to the opposite field off Andrew Miller in the eighth. Miller got two outs and handed the ball to Brad Hand. Jackie Bradley bit the Hand that fed him, driving the first pitch to deep left for a double. Benintendi dropped a single into left-center that scored the tying runs, but he was thrown out trying for a double.

Johnson retired the side in order in the eighth and ninth, but walked the first two batters in the tenth (on nine pitches). Kelly fell behind Donaldson 3-1, but came back to strike him out. He struck out Yonder Alonso on three pitches, the last two of which were changeups away and then down. Pinch-hitter Yandy Diaz got ahead 3-1, but Kelly froze him on a kuncklecurve and then got him to ground to short. It was a very close play, but Steve Pearce stretched as far as he could for Xander Bogaerts's throw and the inning was over.

Yan Gomes battled Pomeranz for ten pitches in the eleventh, before reaching on an infield single to third. Devers ranged five or six steps to his left, spun and fired, but his throw pulled Pearce off the bag and he could not tag the runner. (Yonder, Yandy, Yan. Has any other team had three guys with first names beginning with Y?) Greg Allen showed bunt three times before grounding a 2-2 pitch past Bogaerts's right into left field. On the double steal (Rajai Davis pinch-ran for Gomes), Swihart threw wide to third, but even an accurate throw would have been late. With the infielders and outfielders all playing in, there was no chance of catching Brantley's fly to left. And if it has been caught, Davis would have tagged and scored from third.
Rick Porcello / Mike Clevinger
Benintendi, LF
Kinsler, 2B
Devers, 3B
Martinez, RF
Bogaerts, SS
Moreland, DH
Holt, 1B
Swihart, C
Bradley, CF
I'm back a little early - and just in time to see the 2018 Red Sox set a new franchise record for wins.
2018 Red Sox (154 games): 105-49
1912 Red Sox (154 games): 105-47-2 (end of regular season)
Magic Number for Boston to clinch home-field advantage for the entire postseason: 1.

Also: The Red Sox are 51-28 (.646) on the road. They need to win tonight or tomorrow to secure the best road winning percentage in team history. The 1912 team was (.640, 48-27).

It's hard for me to understand, but there are "fans" like this out there, by the thousands! ... Shared by The Globe's Pete Abraham:

September 11, 2018

G145-154: Red Sox vs Blue Jays, vs Mets, at Yankees, at Cleveland

The Red Sox went 7-3 while I was away. They became the first team to clinch a postseason spot, they won their third straight AL East title (and did it at Yankee Stadium III), and they tied the franchise's record for most wins in a season.

G145: Tuesday, September 11: Red Sox 7, Blue Jays 2 [First team to clinch playoff berth]
Blue Jays - 000 002 000 - 2  5  0
Red Sox   - 000 000 43x - 7  7  1
G146: Wednesday, September 12: Red Sox 1, Blue Jays 0 [100th win of season]
Blue Jays - 000 000 000 - 0  4  0
Red Sox   - 000 010 00x - 1  4  0
G147: Thursday, September 13: Red Sox 4, Blue Jays 3
Blue Jays - 001 000 020 - 3  7  1
Red Sox   - 011 001 01x - 4  9  0
G148: Friday, September 14: Mets 8, Red Sox 0
Mets    - 103 100 030 - 8  9  0
Red Sox - 000 000 000 - 0  4  0
G149: Saturday, September 15: Red Sox 5, Mets 3
Mets    - 000 300 000 - 3  2  2
Red Sox - 100 040 00x - 5 10  0
G150: Sunday, September 16: Red Sox 4, Mets 3
Mets    - 000 002 100 - 3  6  0
Red Sox - 003 000 01x - 4  6  1
G151: Tuesday, September 18: Yankees 3, Red Sox 2
Red Sox - 001 000 001 - 2  5  0
Yankees - 000 000 30x - 3  3  2
G152: Wednesday, September 19: Yankees 10, Red Sox 1
Red Sox - 000 010 000 -  1  9  1
Yankees - 030 104 02x - 10 11  0
G153: Thursday, September 20: Red Sox 11, Yankees 6 [Clinch 3rd straight AL East title]
Red Sox - 121 010 330 - 11 13  0
Yankees - 020 400 000 -  6  7  2
G154: Friday, September 21: Red Sox 7, Cleveland 5 [Tie franchise's record of 105 wins]
Red Sox   - 001 001 401 - 7 13  1
Cleveland - 000 310 100 - 5 10  0

I will be away for the next two weeks, exploring six Ontario provincial parks with Laura - and Diego. Yesterday, we drove four hours north from Mississauga. We will spend part of tomorrow in Sudbury, then head east west to Sault Ste. Marie, and north and west around Lake Superior, going as far as Thunder Bay. Three parks on the way out and three on the return.

At least two of the parks have beaches where dogs can run off-lease. Diego is going to have the time of his life - he loves the beach and he'll get to live in the car! ... I think I'm more excited for him than I am for myself.

Watching or listening to the Red Sox would be a very relaxing thing to do at the end of each day, but I doubt we will have enough internet access (or data). I don't think I'll be posting anything until September 24. [UPDATED!]
G145: Tuesday, September 11: Blue Jays at Red Sox, 7 PM
G146: Wednesday, September 12: Blue Jays at Red Sox, 7 PM
G147: Thursday, September 13: Blue Jays at Red Sox, 7 PM
G148: Friday, September 14: Mets at Red Sox, 7 PM
G149: Saturday, September 15: Mets at Red Sox, 4 PM
G150: Sunday, September 16: Mets at Red Sox, 1 PM
G151: Tuesday, September 18: Red Sox at Yankees, 1 PM
G152: Wednesday, September 19: Red Sox at Yankees, 7 PM
G153: Thursday, September 20: Red Sox at Yankees, 7 PM
G154: Friday, September 21: Red Sox at Cleveland, 7 PM
When I get back, there are only six eight more games in the regular season:
G155: Saturday, September 22: Red Sox at Cleveland, 7 PM
G156: Sunday, September 23: Red Sox at Cleveland, 1 PM
G157: Monday, September 24: Orioles at Red Sox, 7 PM
G158: Tuesday, September 25: Orioles at Red Sox, 7 PM
G159: Wednesday, September 26: Orioles at Red Sox, 7 PM
G160: Friday, September 28: Yankees at Red Sox, 7 PM
G161: Saturday, September 29: Yankees at Red Sox, 1 PM
G162: Sunday, September 30: Yankees at Red Sox, 2 PM
The AL WC Game will be played on Wednesday, October 3.

The Red Sox will face the winner of that game in the ALDS, which begins at Fenway Park on Friday, October 5.

September 10, 2018

The Red Sox Are Not Using An "Opener" When Chris Sale Starts On Tuesday

The Tampa Bay Rays have experimented this season with having one of their relievers pitch the first (and sometimes the second) inning, before switching to a pitcher more accustomed to working for many innings. People have taken to calling these repurposed reliever "openers" - the opposite of a "closer".

Teams score in the first inning more often than any subsequent inning, since a team is guaranteed (assuming its manager fills out a fairly traditional lineup card) to send its best hitters to the plate. The "opener" strategy allows the reliever to face a lineup's heavy hitters right away, giving the next guy (probably a starter) an advantage on his third time through the lineup. Also, a team will not pinch-hit at the start of a game to gain a platoon advantage.

During NESN's Red Sox broadcast on September 4, Dave O'Brien mentioned the "opener" phenomenon and stated that several teams have begun doing it. He said Chris Sale wanted to be referred to as the "opener" when he makes an abbreviated start on Tuesday and O'Brien subsequently began referring to him in that way.
Saw Tampa Bay won again today. They've won nine of their last 10. .. That whole 'opener' thing? That a lot of people said, Ahhh, it'll never catch on. Guess what it's doing? Teams are beginning to use it.
Both of O'Brien's statements are wrong.

Cliff Corcoran of The Athletic, in looking closely at what the Rays are doing, states that a team uses an opener when they begin "a game with a short outing by a pitcher who typically works in relief".

Chris Sale does not typically work out of the bullpen. Every single one of his appearances dating back to May 12, 2012, has been as a starting pitcher. That's 198 games. Tuesday night at Fenway Park against the Blue Jays will be no different. Sale is coming back from an injury, so he will be limited to only two innings or 40 pitches. But he remains a starting pitcher who is starting a game.

What about O'Brien's claim that this strategy is "catching on" with other teams? I'll let you be the judge. As of Saturday, in 2018:

I don't think I made a note about this, but O'Brien - perhaps on September 4, perhaps during another game - named a player who came up with the term "opener" this season. That is also wrong. Bryan Grosnick of Beyond The Box Score used the term "opener" in November 2013.

I shouldn't be surprised. Moneyball (written, of course, by Billy Beane) was published in 2003 and many announcers still - more than 15 years later - exhibit no knowledge of what the philosophy behind the title means.

September 9, 2018

G144: Red Sox 6, Astros 5

Astros  - 010 004 000 - 5 11  0
Red Sox - 101 030 001 - 6 14  1
Andrew Benintendi and Xander Bogaerts set the table in the bottom of the ninth with singles off Hector Rondon before Mitch Moreland won the game with a two-out hit to left field.

In the fifth, a successful Red Sox challenge to a call allowed the inning to continue and J.D. Martinez belted his 40th home run of the year, a three-run job.

JDM drove in four of Boston's six runs. Bogaerts went 4-for-4, with a walk. Mookie Betts scored three runs.

The bullpen continued to have issues as Heath Hembree, in relief of Rick Porcello (5.2-7-4-1-6, 95) allowed two inherited runners to score. Also in that inning, Brian Johnson allowed an inherited runner to score.

Earlier on Sunday, the Mariners beat the Yankees 3-2.

The deciding run scored in the eighth off Dellin Betances as Mitch Haniger walked, stole second, was bunted to third and scored on a fielder's choice. The Yankees' lead over the Athletics in the wild card standings was cut to 2.5.
Dallas Keuchel / Rick Porcello
Betts, CF
Benintendi, LF
Martinez, RF
Bogaerts, SS
Pearce, 1B
Kinsler, 2B
Phillips, 3B
Nuñez, DH
Leon, C
In the first two games of the series, the Red Sox were 4-for-22 (.182) with runners at second and/or third.

Mookie Betts is the second player in Red Sox history to record four straight seasons with 40+ doubles. Wade Boggs had seven consecutive seasons (1985-91). writers David Adler and Daniel Kramer pick the best season in every team's history. Here are the first five words of their entry for the 1912 Red Sox: "The Curse of the Bambino". As another long-time Red Sox blogger would say: Terrible job.

When the Red Sox score 0-3 runs: 12-32
When the Red Sox score 4+ runs: 85-14

The Red Sox are 97-46 with 19 games remaining. The 1912 team holds the franchise's win record: 105-47-2.
9-10: Minimum record needed to set a new franchise record for wins
9-2: Minimum record needed in next 11 games to set a new franchise record for wins in 154 games

Red Sox/Yankees At Fenway Park - My Pictures From 40 (or 36?) Years Ago

On August 22, I posted some pictures I took at my first game at Fenway Park, way back in 1976. At the end of that post, I said I had also converted some slides from a Red Sox/Yankees game on September 9, 1978. It turns out that I was mistaken. I have pictures, but from a different game.

While preparing this post for the 1978 anniversary date and trying to identify various players, I kept running into problems. Sparky Lyle's number was being wore by a black man and there was a white guy at first base for the Red Sox instead of George Scott. A Boston player was wearing #11, a number no one wore in 1978. The visiting pitcher's number listed on the scoreboard belonged, not to Ron Guidry, who I saw pitch, but to Domingo Ramos, who had made his major league debut the night before.

Plus, there were several pictures taken from right field - both before and during the game, something I know the 14-year-old me did not do. ... Then it hit me. Was THIS the game I had tried to find with a "Tracer" in 2008? My friend Ray and I had gone to Fenway in 1982, but I did not know which game we saw. From what little I remembered, I tried to figure it out - and these pictures prove that my guess was correct.

Ray and I were at Fenway on September 25, 1982, and that is where all of these pictures were taken! Not 1978, but a little more than four years later.
Yankees - 001 010 310 - 6 11  1
Red Sox - 010 010 000 - 2  9  1
Looking at them, I can see how I was fooled. Dennis Eckerlsey started both games for the Red Sox and - amazingly - he was relieved by Tom Burgmeier both times. ... There was a #11 in 1982, infielder Dave Stapleton, and seeing him in a group alongside Jerry Remy, who played for both the 1978 and 1982 teams, makes sense. And that's why #51 (Reid Nichols) in standing next to right fielder Dwight Evans instead of Fred Lynn (#19) during a pitching change.

So: Here are some pictures from Game 154 in 1982, which the Yankees won 6-2. (No pictures exist, sadly, of the backpack that was stuffed with clanking beer bottles that we slipped past the ticket-taker. At the exact moment I was going through the turnstile, the guy turned away and I zipped right on in!)

If anyone can identify the players in the uncaptioned photos, please leave a comment.

John Mayberry. He would play his last major league game three days later.

Jerry Remy and a MFY observe something.

Another Remy sighting.

If that is a 3 on his back, this is pitcher John Tudor.

Dave Stapleton, perhaps. (More importantly, what's the hell is going on with the guy on the back of the warning track vehicle?)

Remy and Dave Stapleton.

Our seats were out in right field. The old wall and screen look so bare now.

A member of the grounds crew gathers batting practice balls from the bottom of the screen.

Dennis Eckersley is on the mound and Wade Boggs is playing first base.

One big reason I kept thinking these were from 1978 is because #16 was Burgmeier. But, as noted, he also took over on the mound after Eck in 1982! Dwight Evans and Reid Nichols.

Left-hander Shane Rawley on the hill for the Yankees, Steve Balboni at first base, and Jim Ed Rice taking a lead. Rawley went the distance, so this could be from either the first, fifth, or seventh inning. If it's the fifth, Evans is on third and will score on a double by the now-batting Stapleton (who might be hitting said double right there).