July 31, 2019

"In Several Instances He Called Balls When They Should Have Been Strikes, And Vice Versa" (1871)

From the Boston Herald's report on a game between Boston and Olympic of Washington, May 8, 1871:
A word as to the umpire. Never in our experience at base ball matches for ten years past have we seen an umpire so completely ignore the pitcher and batter as did this man, according to his decisions, and his method of calling balls and strikes. The pitcher has to pitch every ball fairly, and today in several instances he called balls when they should have been strikes, and vice versa. We sincerely hope that he may never fill the position at any first class match again, as he completely discouraged both nines.
Richard Hershberger (author of Strike Four: The Evolution of Baseball) posted the snip, with the comment:
Complaints about the umpire were nothing new. Far from it. But the calling of balls and strikes took a while to develop. Early on, the complaints were about whether the umpire called them at all. So complaining about his zone was progress. This one is precocious. It would be about five years before this was normal.
Wishing for robots before anyone knew what robots were ...

G109: Rays 8, Red Sox 5

Rays    - 140 001 200 - 8 12  1
Red Sox - 001 100 300 - 5 12  0
Rick Porcello (5.2-9-6-1-7, 98) gave up three home runs, including two in the second inning. Austin Meadows's three-run job down the right field line put the Rays up 5-0 and the Red Sox could do nothing more than tease fans with a seventh-inning rally.

Boston, in losing its last two games, has slid back to 10 games out.

The Red Sox trailed by three runs when they batted in the eighth. Sam Travis led off with a single, but Colin Poche struck out Christian Vázquez, Michael Chavis, and Jackie Bradley, all swinging.

Chaz Roe pitched the ninth for the Rays and gave up a leadoff single to Mookie Betts (3-for-5). After two groundouts, Betts was standing on third base. J.D. Martinez (3-for-4, 2 RBI) walked, bringing Andrew Benintendi to the dish as the potential tying run. Benintendi was 13-for-22 (.591), with a 1.761 OPS in his last five games, but Roe got a strike three call on a 1-2 pitch at the top of the zone. Benintendi finished the night 0-for-5, with three strikeouts.

The Rays had scored four or fewer runs in 10 straight games from July 16-26 (3, 2, 1, 2, 1, 4, 4, 4, 3, 3), but have scored at least six in their last four games (9, 10, 6, 8).

Porcello gave up a run in the first inning before he had thrown ten pitches. Back in the dugout, he smashed two television monitors with his fists while on his way to the clubhouse. No word on what Porcello did after allowing a four-spot in the second. Kevin Kiermaier hit Porcello's first pitch out to right-center, in his first at-bat since returning from the injured list. The Red Sox right-hander got two outs, but then gave up a single, a walk, and a three-run dong.

Porcello has allowed five or more runs in five of his last seven starts.

AL East: MFY 7, Diamondbacks 5.. ... MFY –, TBR 7.5, BOS 10.0.

Andrew Kittredge / Rick Porcello
Betts, RF
Devers, 3B
Bogaerts, SS
Martinez, DH
Benintendi, LF
Travis, 1B
Vázquez, C
Chavis, 2B
Bradley, CF
The Globe's Alex Speier tweeted this morning that even if the Red Sox add a bullpen arm at the deadline, "they're going nowhere w/o rotation consistency, elusive this year as Gatsby's green light".

The deadline has come and gone, and Dave Dombrowski did not make any deals:
This is our group. Let's go.
The Red Sox's consistent inconsistency needs to become consistently inconsistent.

Starting tonight, we will run faster, hit harder, stretch out our pitching arms farther, and then one fine morning ...

AL East: Diamondbacks/MFY, 1 PM. ... MFY –, TBR 7.5, BOS 9.0.

When NESN's Dave O'Brien Speaks Extemporaneously About Baseball History, He Might Be Right, But Every Single Time I Fact-Check His Statements, He's Wrong

Dave O'Brien believes he knows baseball: the rules of the game, trends in how the game has been played and managed during his broadcasting career, which statistics best show a player's real contributions, etc.

He certainly should know these things, since they are an essential part of his job. As the Red Sox's play-by-play announcer for NESN, he is the main guy in the booth. He should act as the conduit between the game and the fans watching at home. It's not asking too much to expect him to be more knowledgeable than the average fan on the street.

If you spend any amount of time really listening to O'Brien, however, you will discover that he knows far less about baseball than he appears to. He's unsure of basic rules, he's oblivious to decades-long trends that have forever changed the game, and he cannot stop sharing, and expressing amazement at, useless factoids (you can't call them statistics). He also uses terms like "slide-in double", a phrase which no one else in the history of baseball has ever uttered (or even thought).

O'Brien also has the annoying habit of calling a play - a pitch, a hit, a catch, whatever - before it happens. When he does this, he often has to scramble to mask his error and then tell listeners what actually happened. You'd think messing up like that a few times would embarrass him and convince him to stop that practice. It hasn't. He gets burned by it at least a couple of times every single night.

And when O'Brien speaks extemporaneously, often about the sport's (or, specifically, Red Sox) history, the information he gives should not be believed. (It might be true, but in an appalling number of instances, it is completely wrong.)

There are several examples at the bottom of this post, but I want to start with his latest disinformation, which occurred last night. Nate Lowe, the Rays' designated hitter, led off the top of the seventh. Red Sox reliever Darwinzon Hernandez threw a 0-1 pitch. O'Brien:
Slapped foul, 0-2. One-run game. What else is new when it's the Red Sox and Rays? (long pause) It's very often the case that it comes down to a run when these two clubs meet. That's been going on for years.
As proof of this, O'Brien gave the scores of the last series the two teams had played (July 22-24): 9-4, 5-4, and 3-2.

Well, okay. Two of those three games were decided by one run. ... But the scores of the five games before that were 6-1, 5-1, 9-2, 5-1, 5-2. Adding in Tuesday's 6-5 loss, that's three out of last nine games. One-third (33%) is not "very often".

The winner of six of this season's 13 games between Boston and Tampa Bay won by a single run. ... Less than 50% is also not "very often".

But what about O'Brien's claim that this preponderance of one-run games has been "going on for years"?

Number of One-Run Games Between Red Sox and Rays
2019: 6 of 13
2018: 7 of 19
2017: 5 of 19
2016: 7 of 19
2015: 5 of 19
2014: 7 of 19
2013: 6 of 19
Last seven seasons: 43 of 127 games were decided by one run: 33.86%. (Again, "very often" should be more than one out of three, right?) In none of the last six completed seasons has the number of one-run Red Sox/Rays games been close to even half of the total games played that season. (7 of 19 is 36.8%.)

Of course, after seeing those numbers, I had to look at every season since 1998, when the Devil Rays debuted.
2012: 4 of 18
2011: 4 of 18
2010: 4 of 18
2009: 2 of 18
2008: 6 of 18
2007: 5 of 18
2006: 4 of 19
2005: 7 of 19
2004: 1 of 19
2003: 8 of 19
2002: 3 of 19
2001: 4 of 19
2000: 3 of 12
1999: 4 of 13
1998: 4 of 12

The only season to get anywhere close to 50% was 2003 when 42.11% of the games were one-run affairs.

The Final Tally

The Red Sox and (Devil) Rays have played 386 games since June 12, 1998. Only 27.46% of the games (106) have been decided by one run.

That percentage is roughly identical to the number of one-run games overall.
2019: 1,592 games. 424 one-run games. 26.63% (Games thru July 29)
2018: 2,431 games. 668 one-run games. 27.48%
2017: 2,430 games. 646 one-run games. 26.58%
2016: 2,428 games. 686 one-run games. 28.25%
Also: It should not be overlooked that after O'Brien says something that can be quickly and easily debunked, he almost never corrects himself.

Other Recent Examples

May 9-11, 2017

In The First Of Three Games Against The Brewers, O'Brien Said The Red Sox Had Never Led (Although Mookie Betts Began The Game With A Home Run, Something OB Probably Should Have Remembered). This Incorrect Information Was Repeated Several Times During The Next Two Games

May 9

O'Brien (T1): "And the 3-2 to Betts ... There's a shot, drilled to deep left-center field, sailing back, and she is out of here! ... He put a charge into that one, for his fourth home run of the season ... So the Red Sox on top just like that, 1-0."

The Brewers scored five times in the bottom of the first inning and never looked back.

O'Brien (B8): "The Red Sox have never led and have never tied Milwaukee in this game."

May 10

The Brewers scored two runs in the first inning. The Red Sox tied the game with single runs in the second and fourth innings, and prepared to bat in the fifth.

O'Brien (T5): "The Red Sox two and the Brewers two. The Red Sox have not had a lead yet, in this series."

May 11

Betts began the afternoon game with a double, and eventually scored on an infield error.

O'Brien (T1): "And the Red Sox, for the first time in the series, have a lead."

O'Brien (T6): "The Red Sox did not have a lead in the first two games here."

June 27, 2017

O'Brien Believes Ty Cobb Played Against The Minnesota Twins, But Cobb Was 74 When The Twins Played Their First Game (And He Died Three Months Later)

O'Brien (B3): "Against the Twins - how about this? - only two guys have a higher career batting average in major league history. One is Mark Teixeira, who of course retired after last year, .362. The other? Ty Cobb. .378. Dustin Pedroia, .360.

Dennis Eckersley: "They were called the Twins back then? I mean, when Cobb was playing?"

O'Brien: "I'm looking. ... I think so."

What are you looking at? ... The Washington Senators moved to Minnesota after the 1960 season. The Twins played their first game on April 11, 1961. Ty Cobb passed away approximately three months later, on July 17, 1961, at the age of 74. It should go without saying that the Georgia Peach did not play in any major league games during the final three months of his life. He played his last game in September 1928.

September 23, 2017

O'Brien Says Ted Williams Had An On-Base Percentage Over .500 Five Times, But In One Of The Seasons, He Had Only 12 Plate Appearances, And In Another, He Played A Total Of Three Full Games

O'Brien (T5): "[We] were talking about Joey Votto's stated dream one day to have a .500 on-base percentage over an entire season, how unlikely that is this day and age. He's a huge Ted Williams fan. Huge Ted Williams fan. Ted Williams did that five times in his career."

O'Brien (B9): "Ted Williams did it five times in his career - and two other times, his on-base percentage finished at .499."

If O'Brien had actually looked at Williams's stats, he would have seen that in one of those five seasons (1952), TSW started only two games, came to bat 12 times, and did not play after April. O'Brien is counting this as a full season. Williams did not debut the following year (1953) until August. He appeared in 37 games, but played an entire game only three times. Here are the facts: Ted Williams had three seasons in which he finished with an American League-leading OBP over .500. He also had full-season OBPs of .499, .499, .497, .497, and .490.

August 7, 2018

O'Brien Expresses Amazement At Something That Is Completely Mundane, Thus Conveying The Idea That Fans Should Be Similarly Impressed

O'Brien (B8): "That's the third time this season that J.D. Martinez has had a four-RBI game. It's the kind of thing that David Ortiz made his legend on."

O'Brien sounded very impressed with JDM's three four-RBI games. Indeed, he implied it was similar to the "legendary" hitting feats of David Ortiz. At the time O'Brien said this, there were at least 14 major league batters that season with four or more 4-RBI games (one more than Martinez). Trevor Story of the Rockies had knocked in four runs in a game seven times. Martinez finished 2018 with five games of 4+ RBI.

For the record, Ortiz had 66 games with 4+ RBI in 20 seasons. Martinez is in his ninth season and has 21 games. Ortiz had eight games in 2004, nine games in 2005, nine games in 2006, five games in 2007, and five games in 2008. Also, shouldn't O'Brien know that David Ortiz is legendary, not because of high-RBI games, but because of his numerous clutch hits (the two most famous hits, in the 2004 ALCS, drove in two and one run, respectively)?

September 24, 2018

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? Zee-ro.

O'Brien (B4): "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."

Lopes played for the Dodgers for 10 years (1972-81). During those seasons, the Dodgers won 21 games by a 1-0 score. Lopes scored the game's only run four times and in only one of those four games did he even attempt to steal a base. (He was thrown out, but ruled safe on an error.) Also, he had no steals in 15 of those 21 games.

The Dodgers never won a game in which Lopes stole second and scored the game's only run - on a sac fly or anything else.

Here is another example of "a lot" in a sentence: "When Dave O'Brien talks about baseball history, he is accurate 'a lot' of the time."

July 30, 2019

G108: Rays 6, Red Sox 5

Rays    - 001 032 000 - 6 12  0
Red Sox - 201 020 000 - 5 13  1
The Red Sox's bats had a late-inning, self-induced LOB-tomy on Tuesday night. Boston stranded seven baserunners in the final three innings, including the bases loaded in the eighth. This chronic squandering was especially bad because (a) the Red Sox had held leads of 2-0, 3-1, and 5-4 and (b) the Yankees had already lost to the Diamondbacks.

Andrew Benintendi drove in three runs, with a single in the third and a two-run homer in the fifth. When he batted against Colin Poche with runners on first and second and two outs in the bottom of seventh, however, he fanned a 1-2 pitch.

In the eighth, Sam Travis, hitting for Mitch Moreland, who drove in two runs with a bases-loaded single in the first inning, doubled off the Wall in left, after nearly poking a line drive safely down the right field line. Christian Vázquez chased one of Chaz Roe's sliders and struck out. Oliver Drake entered the game and walked Brock Holt and got Jackie Bradley to line out to third.

Then it was Emilio Pagán's turn to pitch. Mookie Betts (at that point 0-for-his-last-11) reached safely on an infield hit off second baseman Eric Sogard's glove (he had been shifted over to the shortstop's side of the bag). So the bases were loaded for Rafael Devers, who had already doubled and singled twice. After a low and very inside ball 1, Devers took a hellacious swing at a fastball. (NESN's Dennis Eckersley spoke the truth: "You can't swing much harder".) After a called strike, a foul ball, and another inside pitch, Devers flied to left, Austin Meadows jogging in a bit and gloving the ball.

In the ninth, with Pagán still pitching, Xander Bogaerts flied to right and J.D. Martinez struck out. However, Pagán's 2-0 pitch to Martinez was well outside, but plate umpire Tim Timmons called it a strike. A 3-0 count is far different than 2-1, so Timmons's blown call had a profound effect on the outcome of this game.
Benintendi blooped a single into short left. Travis grounded a single into right, with Benintendi taking third. Vázquez swung at an inside slider and missed before taking two balls, the first one in the dirt, but Mike Zunino was able to block it. Vázquez then hit a high fly that Meadows drifted back on and caught on the warning track.

After David Price (4.1-9-4-2-9, 94) escaped a bases-loaded-one-out jam in the fourth, holding on to a 3-1 lead, he allowed two solo home runs in the fifth, each coming on the first pitch, to Travis d'Arnaud and Avisaíl García. Price also gave up a single and a double before being pulled, and Marcus Walden allowed the go-ahead run to score on a groundout.

Benintendi gave the Red Sox back the lead in the bottom of the fifth, but the bullpen let it get away again. Walden got the first two outs before walking d'Arnaud. Josh Taylor gave up a single to Meadows. Then Alex Cora called on Colten Brewer, who surrendered a two-run double to García. Rookie Darwinzon Hernandez pitched the seventh and retired the Rays in order, the only time Tampa Bay were set down 1-2-3 in this game. Hernandez struck out the first two batters looking and would have been a better choice for the sixth inning. Brewer may have had some good outings this year, and perhaps I even witnessed one (or two, if he had two) of them, but my mind is blank. When I see him on the mound, I feel like Cora has given up on the game. (Which would be particularly bad in this case, since Boston was up 5-4 when Brewer entered.)

Also: The media get a lot of information well before the start of the game, including the umpiring assignments. As Price finished his warm-up pitches, NESN showed this graphic (the bottom of the screen is cut off because I don't want to give a huge company a small amount of free advertising):

NESN went 0-for-4, as every umpire is listed at the wrong base. Tim Timmons (who is, in fact, #95) was behind the plate, Sean Barber was at first, Mike Winters was at second, and Rob Drake was at third.

When I saw that MLB's Gameday's box score was much different than NESN, I went to check the online press packet. And, just as I assumed, NESN had screwed up. It's no hanging matter in the overall scheme of things, but it's certainly typical of the network's attention (or lack thereof) to detail.

AL East: Diamondbacks 4, MFY 2. ... MFY –, TBR 7.5, BOS 9.0.
Charlie Morton / David Price
Betts, RF
Devers, 3B
Bogaerts, SS
Martinez,, DH
Benintendi, LF
Moreland, 1B
Vázquez, C
Holt, 2B
Bradley, CF
The Red Sox went 5-2 in the first half of a two-week stretch against their division rivals. Boston hosts the Rays for three games before going to the Bronx on Friday for another four-game series, including a Saturday day-night doubleheader.

John Sterling, longtime insufferable MFY announcer (known mostly for his idiotic home run calls and for hallucinating during games), says he will never change his style: "The world doesn't feed its hungry by how I make a call." That is true enough. His broadcasting style also makes the world's satiated lose their lunch.

AL East: Diamondbacks/MFY, 7 PM. ... MFY –, TBR 8.5, BOS 9.0.

July 29, 2019

Miserable Man Who Hates Baseball Demands That People Stop Enjoying Baseball

Three of the last four Red Sox games were fun, weren't they? It was enjoyable watching the Yankees' pitchers get whiplash from watching the 36 extra-base hits they gave up in the last four games to the red-hot Red Sox? It was cool to see Boston score more runs against the hated Yankees both in a single game and in a four-game series than they ever had before, right?

Well, a certain curly-haired sportswriter, a dinosaur that 15 years ago watched his one and only meal ticket dry up and blow away, a guy who was already an irrelevant mosquito on the media scene many years before that glorious autumn, is once again shaking his fist at a passing cloud and demanding that YOU STOP HAVING FUN WHEN THE RED SOX DO FUN THINGS!! The headline of his latest jumble of rehashed words (he's been turning in slightly-altered versions of the same column for the past 15 years, too) is: "Let's Not Get Swept Up By This Red Sox Team Quite Yet".

Because you cannot simply enjoy one game or three games - and then hope for the best the rest of the way (like a normal person). Nope. If you even smiled a little bit during the 19-3, 10-5, and 9-5 wins, you obviously also believe the Red Sox will finish this season 66-0 (55 regular season and 11 postseason games) and celebrate another title. And this fossil is here to helpfully remind you that you are an idiot for thinking that way (even though no one thinks that way). The "us" in that headline is actually an empty room.

Dave O'Brien Asks (Out Loud, On The Radio): "Does Jennifer Lopez Smell As Good As I Think She Does?"

D-O-B. ... C-A-D.
Sean McDonough and Dave O'Brien were in the Red Sox radio booth for Sunday night's game against the Yankees. McDonough is always a welcome voice, but O'Brien ... He still managed to have me shaking my head at his strange understanding of baseball and then cringing at his undisguised sexism.

ESPN was broadcasting the Sunday night game, so the subject of Alex Rodriguez came up a few times. As you may know, Slappy McBluelips is in a relationship with Jennifer Lopez, a pop singer of some renown. This discussion came during a pitching change in the bottom of the sixth inning:
O'Brien: ... And the RBI will go to J.D. Martinez, his 61st and that brings up Benintendi.

McDonough: In other WEEI Red Sox Radio Network Intern News, we mentioned Max DeLuca, our other intern from Emerson College, the pride of Rockland, Massachusetts, another good South Shore man, he has been a runner tonight for ESPN Sunday Night Baseball. He's now in our booth. Do you know why he had to come from the booth next door?

O'Brien: Was he banished?

McDonough: J-Lo took his chair.

O'Brien: Ooooo, wow.

McDonough: She, of course, and Alex Rodriguez -- they're not married yet, are they? Are they married? I don't think they're married.


O'Brien: Right-hander Tommy Kahnle will make his 49th appearance, he's been very good for Aaron Boone, with a 2.59 Earned Run Average. More importantly, Max just encountered J-Lo moments ago in the ESPN booth and he's now joining us in our booth. Max, what was it like -- does, does she -- is she -- smell as good as I think she does?

DeLuca: You know, Dave, I didn't get a chance to smell her, but she walked in the room with her family, I saw the opportunity to give a nice woman a seat, so I did. And she graciously took the seat.

O'Brien: Is she as pretty in person as we think she is?

DeLuca: I have a girlfriend. But, yes, she is.

(several people laughing off mic)

O'Brien: Oh, man.

McDonough: You'd dump the girlfriend for J-Lo in a minute. I've met Jennifer in the past.

DeLuca: (unintelligble, could be "No comment")

McDonough: She's lovely.

O'Brien: Yes. Smells great.

McDonough: As a person. I don't care about her smell or her appearance. She's a very nice person. If anybody's wanting to ask Max those questions, his name is (speaks slowly) Dave O'Brien. (unintelligble)

O'Brien: One man out, a runner at second, Benintendi will take a big swing at a pitch down low for a ball ... I think America wants to know.
Yet another example of O'Brien trying to be one of the boys and failing miserably. But this time he tosses in a bit of Trumpesque sexism. (Also, if Benny swings and misses a pitch, it is a strike, not a ball.)

Earlier, in the top of the fourth, the announcers were discussing the Mets trading for Marcus Stroman.
Will Flemming: The Mets have said they are absolutely trading Noah Snydergaard.

O'Brien: They are absolutely trading him?

Flemming: Yes.

O'Brien: That makes sense now that they have Stroman. (calls the next pitch)

Flemming: Of course Stroman throws the most groundballs - induces the most groundballs - in baseball and the Mets, of course, have the worst groundball defense in the sport. ... I guess the Yankees were deep in on Stroman, as everybody assumed they would be, but the Jays insisted on Deivi Garcia, their 20-year-old kid who has drawn some comparisons to Pedro - probably a little premature - but they said that's a non-starter.

(Urshela doubles)

McDonough: Will, any word yet on what Toronto got back for Stroman? You mentioned the Yankees didn't want to part with one of their top prospects, who did the Mets give up or has that not been revealed?

Flemming: It has. I'll tell you their names in just a second, but most people will not know the names. The reality is they got their #1 pitching prospect and #2 hitter, so the #4 and #6 overall prospects in their system. [ESPN graphic mentioned two pitchers, Anthony Kay and Simeon Woods-Richardson]

McDonough: What are the Mets doing? I mean, they are not going to win anything this year.

Flemming: It's hard to figure.

McDonough: Maybe they just figure Stroman helps them begin the process of replacing Syndergaard?

O'Brien: I would think that's part of it, as Sale goes from the stretch and fires in. And that'll be a little bit high for a ball on Maybin. You know what else it does? It blocks the Yankees from getting him.

McDonough: I don't think that's why they would do it.

O'Brien: I think it's absolutely always a thought in the Mets' heads. What can we do to affect the New York Yankees?

McDonough: (mockingly) We're going to give away a couple of our best prospects to get Marcus Stroman who's two games above .500 in his career just to stop the Yankees from doing it.

O'Brien: Sure, he's a very good pitcher. Pretty good pitcher.

McDonough: I'd rather have Syndergaard.
Two points:

1. "That makes sense now that they have Stroman." ... Sure, Dave, because as everyone in baseball always says: "You can absolutely have enough starting pitching."

2. McDonough wastes zero time in mocking O'Brien, with Flemming chuckling along in the background. Thinking the Mets run their operations with the Yankees always in mind is so bizarre. Why would anyone think that, let alone say it out loud?

At another point, McDonough was talking about how he feels the Red Sox games he calls are all lengthy, but he learned the average time is much less than he thought. He mentions a 2:23 game in April when James Paxton of the Yankees pitched eight shutout innings against the Red Sox. O'Brien immediately replied: "Oh my! Boy, we dream of those."

Yeah, I also dream of the Red Sox getting shutout by the Yankees as the innings fly by ... You know, if calling 3:30 or 4:00 baseball games bothers Dave O'Brien so much, maybe he needs to look for another job.

July 28, 2019

G107: Yankees 9, Red Sox 6

Yankees - 002 202 210 - 9  8  2
Red Sox - 000 201 102 - 6 10  3
The Red Sox set a new record for the most runs scored in a four-game BOS/MFY series with 44, but ended up on the losing end in the final game on Sunday night. Chris Sale (5.1-5-6-3-7, 100) could not duplicate the success of his previous two starts. He allowed a pair of two-run homers (both coming after a walk) and a costly error by Jackie Bradley gave New York some late-inning insurance. Still, three out of four ain't bad.

Domingo Germán (5.1-4-3-1-9, 77) was impressive. He showcased all his pitches in the first two innings, including a devastating changeup. Six of his first eight outs were by strikeout. The records of Germán (12-3) and Sale (6-9) are a good example of how useless W-L records are. Coming into this game, their ERAs were all but equal: Sale 4.00, Germán 4.03. Plus, Sale had a lower WHIP (1.084 to 1.124), had allowed fewer H/9 (7.4 to 7.9) and fewer HR/9 (1.3 to 1.8), had more K/9 (13.2 to 9.6), had a lower opponents' average (.220 to .227), a lower opponents' slugging (.400 to .418), a lower opponents' OPS (.685 to .697), a lower percentage of strikes put into play (20.6% to 27.05), and a higher WAR (2.3 to 1.2). Yet Germán had six more wins and seven fewer losses than Sale! #forgodssakekillthewinalready

Gio Urshela crushed Sale's first pitch of the third inning to deep right-center. Bradley and Mookie Betts both chased it and it looked like they might collide on the warning track, but Betts pulled up at the last second and JBJ made a remarkable catch before immediately crashing into the bullpen wall. Sale walked Cameron Maybin and Austin Romine hit some salad (a changeup at 87 over the heart of the plate) 446 feet to left-center for a 2-0 MFY lead. In the next inning, Sale walked Luke Voit with one out and Didi Gregorius homered to right-center. (The previous 47 home runs that Sale had allowed had all been to right-handed hitters.)

Sale: "It just seemed like my stuff flattened out when I (pitched) out of the stretch, that's when they did all their damage. It just seemed like when I was in the windup I'd find a pretty good rhythm, once I got in the stretch it was a little different ballgame."

The Red Sox got two runs back in the bottom of the fourth when Xander Bogaerts was awarded a single after Urshela played his grounder off to the side and predictably muffed the play. On no planet was that play anything but an error, but there you go. (Viva fielding percentage!) With two down, Andrew Benintendi (3-for-5, 4 RBI) hit his tenth dong of the year.

Sale stranded runners at first and third in the fifth and gave up a run-scoring double to Urshela in the sixth. Colten Brewer came in and allowed Maybin to single in Urshela, making it 6-2.

Rafael Devers walked on four pitches to lead off the sixth, Germán's first leadoff walk in his last ten starts. Bogaerts's double was a missile off the Wall and Devers could not get farther than third. J.D. Martinez grounded out to shortstop and Devers scored. That was Germán's last batter. Tommy Kahnle struck out Benintendi and the ball got away from Romine, but Benintendi did not run to first and the catcher threw him out, as Bogaerts went to third. Brock Holt lined to left to end the inning.

Darwinzon Hernandez walked Aaron Hicks to open the seventh. Aaron Judge struck out looking and Edwin Encarnacion doubled to left-center. Voit was intentionally walked to load the bases. Gregorius lifted a ball to short center. Bradley sprinted in and made a basket catch for the second out. It appeared that Voit was well off first base and Bogaerts pointed towards first base and yelled something. Bradley threw the ball to first almost without looking. Unfortunately, there was no Red Sox fielder anywhere near the bag - Mitch Moreland was at the mound, serving as the cutoff man - and the ball went into the dugout. Two runs scored.

The Red Sox squandered a golden opportunity to get back into the game in the eighth inning. Zack Britton's control was iffy (at best) and he walked Martinez to start the frame. Benintendi singled off Gregorius's glove into left and, after Michael Chavis pinch-hit for Holt and grounded out, Britton walked Sam Travis, who was hitting for Moreland. Bases loaded, one out, trailing by five (9-4). And the MFY bullpen was a ghost town. Bradley fouled off three pitches but he chased a 2-2 breaking ball down and away for strike three. Christian Vázquez, who had hit for Sandy León in the previous inning and gone behind the plate, grounded into a 6-4 fielder's choice, leaving the sacks full.

Aroldis Chapman was his usual shaky self against the Red Sox in the ninth, but he was well-protected by the five-run cushion. Betts walked to lead off, Bogaerts singled with one out, and Benintendi singled in two runs with two outs, but Chavis fanned on a pitch in the dirt to end the game with the tying run on deck.

The Red Sox set two team records for a four-game series: 23 doubles and 36 extra-base hits. Actually, they had already set those record before the fourth game began!

The Yankees have not been shutout since July 1, 2018, a streak of 187 games that is the fourth-longest in the modern era (since 1900):
308 games - Yankees (August 3, 1931 to August 2, 1933; 203-102)
212 games - Brewers (August 11, 1978 to September 29, 1979; 127-85)
208 games - Reds (April 3, 2000 to May 23, 2001; 104-103)
187 games - Yankees (July 1, 2018 to July 28, 2019; 114-73)
174 games - Phillies (September 20, 1992 to September 29, 1993; 107-67)
168 games - Senators (May 21, 1930 to June 4, 1931; 101-66)
The Red Sox's longest streak is 136 games (tied for 18th all-time), from April 26, 1950 to September 20, 1950.

AL East: Rays 10, Blue Jays 9. The Blue Jays became the first major league team in history to win after trailing by seven or more runs (which Toronto did Saturday) and then lose its next game after leading by seven or more runs.
Rays - 062 001 000 000 -  9 13  1
Jays - 110 001 024 001 - 10 16  0
Rays - 000 013 231 - 10 16  0
Jays - 022 041 000 -  9 12  0
MFY –, TBR 8.5, BOS 9.0.
Domingo Germán / Chris Sale
Betts, RF
Devers, 3B
Bogaerts, SS
Martinez, DH
Benintendi, LF
Holt, 2B
Moreland, 1B
Bradley, CF
León, C
The Red Sox have scored 38 runs in the first three games (19-3, 10-5, 9-5) of this four-game series against the Yankees. Boston needs to score at least five runs tonight to set a record for most runs in a Red Sox/Yankees four-game series.
42 - 1978 Yankees (September 7-10 at Boston: 15-3, 13-2, 7-0, 7-4)
40 - 1947 Yankees (May 23-26 at New York: 9-0, 5-0, 17-2, 9-3)
38 - 2019 Red Sox (July 25-28 at Boston: 19-3, 10-5, 9-5, X-X)
38 - 1950 Red Sox (June 30-July 2 at Boston: 6-9, 10-2, 13-4, 9-15)
38 - 1923 Yankees (September 27-29 at Boston: 8-3, 24-4, 4-5, 2-3 (16))
Most Total Bases In A Three-Game Span, MLB History
110 - 1996 Dodgers 107 - 2015 Red Sox 107 - 2019 Red Sox
In the three games, the Red Sox have hit 19 singles, 21 doubles, 2 triples, and 10 home runs. ... On Friday night, 11 of their 14 hits were for extra bases!

Yankees Starting Pitching Rankings Since The All-Star Break
ERA - 8.10 (last) HR Allowed - 28 (last) Opponents OPS - 1.025 (last)
Sale has pitched 12 innings in his last two starts, allowing only six hits and two runs, walking five and striking out 22.

Germán allowed eight runs to the Twins in 3.2 innings last Tuesday. Back on June 1, he threw 87 pitches in only 3.2 innings against the Red Sox, allowing six hits and three runs.

David Ortiz was released from the hospital yesterday and will continue his rehab at home.

AL East: Rays/Blue Jays, 1 PM. ... MFY –, BOS 8.0, TBR 8.5.

Schadenfreude 258 (A Continuing Series)

Kevin Kernan, Post:
Since Yankees pitchers can't get anybody out on the muscular teams, this season is about to get a lot more interesting. ...

In the first three games of the series, the Red Sox have scored 38 runs against Yankees arms. ...

This was the seventh straight start in which the Yankees' starting pitcher could not even go 4.2 innings. The Red Sox ... are gaining more confidence with each game they play.

Could this possibly be a reversal of the 1978 Yankees comeback, when they charged back from 14 games out in mid-July to stun the Red Sox? ...

[T]his much is clear after watching [the Yankees] try to pitch against the home run-hitting Twins and power-packed Red Sox: They can't come close to getting the job done. ...

[The Red Sox] have reestablished themselves as a dangerous postseason team. No one will want to face this lineup come October, and if the Red Sox add to their bullpen at the trade deadline, look out. ...

The Red Sox are playing the same kind of baseball they did on the way to their championship last year. ...

Sunday they can complete a sweep of the Yankees. Is anything still possible? ...

For the first time in the rivalry's long history, the Red Sox have scored eight-plus runs in six consecutive games. ...

If the Yankees can't stop the bleeding, though, they will find themselves in a race in the AL East.
Dan Martin, Post:
[Aaron Judge's] woes at Fenway Park have continued this season, as Judge has put up some of the worst numbers of his career against the Yankees' rivals in Boston, and that didn't change in Saturday's 9-5 loss to the Red Sox.

In 16 regular season games entering Saturday, Judge was just 12-for-63 with 19 strikeouts and a .666 OPS at Fenway — the only venue where Judge has been less productive in as many games is Tropicana Field, where he has a .655 OPS in 20 career games. ...

"That's baseball," Judge said of his recent struggles. ...

Judge also blared "New York, New York" as he walked by the Red Sox clubhouse when the Yankees left Fenway following their [ALDS] Game 2 victory in October and Boston went on to win the next two games at Yankee Stadium to end the series.
Post Sports Desk:
The rotation issues continue for the Yankees.

The team announced Sunday morning it has placed CC Sabathia on the 10-day injured list with right knee inflammation.

Red Sox Radio Claims Boston Leads MLB In Pinch-Hit HRs "By A Lot". They Have Hit 5. (Fact Check: 8 Teams Have Hit More; 2 Teams Have Hit Almost Twice As Many.)

WEEI's Will Flemming told Red Sox fans during Saturday afternoon's game against the Yankees that Boston has hit five pinch-hit home runs this season, the "most in the big leagues by a lot".

The on-air conversation occurred during Brock Holt's pinch-hitting appearance in the bottom of the sixth:
Joe Castiglione: Red Sox pinch hitters 21-for-58, that's a .362 average with an OPS of 1.146.

Flemming: Hmmmm.

Castiglione: Five pinch homers.

Flemming: Most in the big leagues by a lot.
Silly me, I looked it up.

Eight teams have hit more pinch-hit home runs than the Red Sox. And two teams have hit almost twice as many as Boston.

The Dodgers have hit 9. The Giants have hit 9.

The Rockies have hit 8.

The Diamondbacks have hit 7. The Mets have hit 7. The Pirates have hit 7.

The Reds have hit 6. The Padres have hit 6.

And Atlanta, the Marlins, Phillies, and Cardinals each have hit 5.

You may have noticed that all 12 of those teams are in the National League, where they pinch-hit far more frequently. (The Giants leads MLB with 189 pinch-hit at-bats, while the Red Sox have only 58. The Orioles lead the AL with 62)

Perhaps Flemming meant to note that the Red Sox lead the American League in pinch-hit home runs "by a lot", but mistakenly said "big leagues"?

The Red Sox do, in fact, lead the AL with 5 pinch-hit home runs. But the Rangers have 4 and the Athletics have 3.

A team with 5 pinch-hit homers does not lead a team with 4 pinch-hit homers "by a lot". And when a team is tied for ninth in the big leagues when it comes to pinch-hit homers, that team does not have "the most in the big leagues by a lot" (or even "by a little").

July 27, 2019

Schadenfreude 257 (A Continuing Series)

Dan Martin, Post (Saturday, 5:39 AM):
For years, the Yankees counted on CC Sabathia to be their stopper. Even in the latter part of his career, he has been adept at pitching well after losses. ...

[Sabathia:] "Just go out and try to get a win."

George A. King III, Post:
[T]he numbers from the past eight games are so horrific you have to wonder if the Yankees have the arms to avoid a complete meltdown and let the Red Sox and Rays creep closer in the AL East race. ...

In the past eight games, Yankees starters [have] a whopping 14.90 ERA, which was reduced from 15.61 because Sabathia gave up five runs in 4.1 innings. They have allowed 59 hits, 10 walks and hit two batters in 32 innings. Ten of those hits are homers. ...

Manager Aaron Boone ... said nobody should overreact to a bad week of baseball. ...

First, however, somebody has to stop the outgoing missiles coming from the other teams' bats.

Kristie Ackert, Daily News:
This is not just a punch in the face. The Yankees are reeling and have taken a few body blows this weekend too. CC Sabathia was chased early Saturday and the offense was quieted for the third straight game by the Red Sox in a 9-5 loss at Fenway.

The Yankees have allowed more than seven runs in seven straight games, a first in team history. They allowed nine or more in three straight games for the first time since 2015. ...

[Sabathia] allowed five runs on nine hits over 4.1 innings. He gave up two homers ... It was the first time he had allowed five runs to the Red Sox since 2013. And it was his third straight start allowing at least five runs, which ties the longest stretch of his career.

It has been the pitching that put the Yankees in this rough spot. The starters have allowed 48 runs in the last seven games in 26 innings pitched. That includes giving up 18 homers. ...

They have been outscored 38-13 ... They are 7-for-26 with RISP in the series.

[Aaron] Judge went 0-for-5 with two strikeouts Saturday and is 1-for-14 in Boston.
Kristie Ackert, Daily News (early edition):
It was the seventh straight game the Yankees allowed seven or more runs. It was also the sixth straight game the Red Sox had put up at least eight runs on the Yankees' pitchers ...

It has been a week since a starter completed a fifth inning ...

[Boone:] "[W]e've scuffled a little bit on the mound." ...

[T]his battering has come against two teams, the Red Sox and Twins, that the Yankees have to worry about possibly seeing in October.

Ken Davidoff, Post:
Time for extreme measures.

Bullpenning. Openers. Whatever it takes to get the Yankees out of this full-blown starting pitching meltdown.

For that's what we are witnessing here at Fenway Park, CC Sabathia's abbreviated outing the latest domino to fall as the Yankees fell, 9-5, to the Red Sox on Saturday afternoon, their third straight loss to their rivals as the Sawx leapt over the losing Rays to move within eight games of the AL East-leading Yankees. ...

I'm not convinced they're doomed come October or sooner. This season remains eminently salvageable. ...

[But] The Yankees' cushion is leaking like the Exxon Valdez.
Dan Martin, Post:
An already rough series against their rivals got even worse for the Yankees on Saturday, when DJ LeMahieu sat with a tight groin. ...

LeMahieu underwent an MRI exam, and the results will help determine whether he will end up heading to the injured list. ...

Brett Gardner had similar feelings about [his] sore left knee before Gardner finally went on the IL after missing five straight games.
Dated Cultural References: The Exxon Valdez oil spill occurred on March 24, 1989, more than 30 years ago.

G106: Red Sox 9, Yankees 5

Yankees - 010 110 020 - 5 11  1
Red Sox - 010 313 10x - 9 15  0
The Red Sox battered the Yankees for the third consecutive day, as once again, as regular as a morning sunrise, a Yankees starting pitcher got lit up.

Andrew Benintendi (3-for-4) led the way with two doubles and a home run. Rafael Devers (3-for-5) doubled twice and scored two runs, Sam Travis went 3-for-4, and J.D. Martinez launched his 22nd home run of the season. Eduardo Rodriguez ((5.2-7-3-3-5, 108) dealt with enemy baserunnrers in every inning, but minimized the damage.

CC Sabathia (4.1-9-5-0-3, 65) allowed only two hits through the first three innings, but of the last 11 Red Sox hitters he faced, seven got hits. (However, manager Aaron Boone can point to CC's zero walks as proof he had a good outing.)

Over the last seven games, New York's starters have a 16.61 ERA, and have allowed 18 home runs in 26 innings. The Yankees have also allowed seven runs for the seventh consecutive game, a franchise record.

The Daily News:

The Rays blew a 9-2 lead in Toronto, as the Blue Jays scored one in the sixth, two in the eighth, and four in the ninth, and won 10-9 in 12 innings. The Red Sox are now in second place, 8 GB. The Rays are 8.5 GB.

The Yankees actually led twice in this game. Gio Urshela homered in the second inning, the first of his four hits. With two singles, a double, and a homer, it was his first career four-hit game. Benintendi tied the score at 1-1 in the bottom of the second with a fly that bounced off a front row seat about six feet beyond the Pesky Pole. It was originally ruled a double until Alex Cora asked for a review.

Sabathia threw only 34 pitches to ten batters over the first three innings, but (with a 2-1 lead) he faced eight Red Sox in the fourth as his command deserted him. Devers lined an opposite-field single to left. Xander Bogaerts flies to center (on a 2-0 count courtesy of two very high and outside pitches). JDM crushed CC's first pitch 432 feet to left field. Christian Vázquez lined a single off the base of the wall in left. Benintendi was called out on a questionable full-count pitch that appeared to be above the strike zone. Travis singled to left (and failed to take second when the throw went directly to third base). Michael Chavis blooped a single to short left for a run and Jackie Bradley flied to the track in left.

Mookie Betts (0-for-4 with a sac fly after his big night on Friday) flied to the warning track in center to start the fifth. Devers hit a ground-rule double to right and Bogaerts doubled high off the Wall to make it 5-2 Boston, and end CC's day. Chad Green worked out of trouble in the fifth, but was not so lucky in the sixth. Benintendi doubled off the center field wall and went to third on Travis's single to right. Brock Holt hit for Chavis and hit a sac fly to left, scoring Benintendi. Bradley's fly to left was misplaced off the Wall by Mike Tauchman and JBJ motored into third with a stand-up triple. Betts's fly to center scored Bradley, making it 8-3.

During the sixth inning, as Green gave up a single, two doubles, a triple, a stolen base, three runs, and two of his three outs were caught on the warning track - and the score went from 5-3 to 8-3, effectively erasing any chance of a Yankees' comeback - Aaron Boone's bullpen was completely (and strangely) silent.

Matt Barnes got the final out of the sixth (with the potential tying runs on base) and struck out three in the seventh. Nathan Eovaldi allowed a two-run single to Kyle Higashioka (whose average and OBP were both below .200), after the MFY catcher battled for 12 pitches (and six consecutive foul balls).

Sam Travis knocked in Benintendi with Boston's final run and Brandon Workman set down the Yankees' 2-3-4 hitters in order in the ninth. Aaron Judge grounded to second, and Edwin Encarnacion and Luke Voit both were frozen by strike three.

Listened to the radio today: Joe Castiglione still misrepresents the location of 35-40% of all pitches, Will Flemming refuses to allow even a quarter-second of quiet time pass before filling it with more and more words, and Lou Merloni had the best comment of the day (and by "best", I mean the worst):

Higashioka made the first out in the top of the fifth and Aaron Hicks was batting. Merloni said the Red Sox had caught a break in this series because Gary Sanchez was on the IL. Merloni admitted that Sanchez was hitting only .102 in July (with a .358 OPS!), "but that presence ... there's always that threat". But Merloni also said that every batter can go yard at any time these days, which makes me wonder what's so special about Mr. Maniloaf?

My partner says that Merloni is the embodiment of every idiot from Jersey who ever sat behind her at a game, jabbering away in a too-loud voice inning after inning, "explaining" the game to his girlfriend, with all of his information either wrong or cliched. Merloni is not always that bad, but I understand exactly what she means and I never need to hear his voice again (in any context).

AL East: Blue Jays 10, Rays 9 (12). ... MFY –, BOS 8.0, TBR 8.5.

CC Sabathia / Eduardo Rodriguez
Betts, RF
Devers, 3B
Bogaerts, SS
Martinez, DH
Vázquez, C
Benintendi, LF
Travis, 1B
Chavis, 2B
Bradley, CF
Since Rafael Devers moved to the #2 spot in the lineup on June 25, the Red Sox lead the majors in runs per game (7.17), batting average (.307), on-base percentage (.365), slugging percentage (.532), OPS (.897), doubles (tied, 65), and extra-base hits (111).

Also, since June 25, Devers leads all of baseball in RBI (33) and is tied in hits (38).

The Yankees have allowed 55 runs in their last five games, the most in any five-game span in franchise history.

AL East: Rays/Blue Jays, 3 PM. ... MFY –, TBR 8.5, BOS 9.0.

Schadenfreude 256 (A Continuing Series)

George A. King III, Post (early edition):
In the past seven games, the Yankees' rotation has gone from terrific to terrible, and based on how the Red Sox have punished Aaron Boone's starters, the savagery might not be winding down.

"It's obviously been a rough week for us," Boone said after the Red Sox handed the Yankees their heads for a second straight night with a 10-5 beating ...

In that [seven-game] stretch, Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, CC Sabathia, Domingo German and J.A. Happ are a collective 1-4 with a 15.61 ERA. In 27.2 innings, they have given up 54 hits and 13 walks. ...

Friday night, it was Paxton pitching for the second time in that seven-game stretch, and he gave up seven runs and nine hits in four innings ... For the third straight outing, the lefty gave up a home run to the first batter he faced. ...

In the past six games, the Yankees' have given up 64 runs. That is the most in franchise history.

Kevin Kernan, Post:
Mookie Betts and the Red Sox gave the Yankees and Brian Cashman a booming message Friday night at Fenway Park: You had better trade for another starting pitcher.

Betts slammed three home runs off James Paxton in his first three at-bats as the Red Sox cruised to a 10-5 victory. If you're counting, that's 29 runs against the Yankees in two nights and Betts is rolling with six hits in those two games.

The Yankees came here with the idea of burying the Red Sox in the AL East, but after these two slaughters, the Red Sox are gaining life in the division. ...

This was Paxton's first performance at Fenway and he was terrible right from the start with Betts' leadoff home run. ...

Before the game, he took the time to take a 10-year-old from the Make-A-Wish Foundation around. There was one report that the child asked him to hit a home run. Turns out, Mookie hit three. ...

Asked if the Red Sox could still be a playoff factor, Betts smiled and said: "Yes, it's just a matter of time. Now is the time. ..."

Betts is finally on a tear and this marks the third time in his career he had a three-homer game. He has reached safely in each of his past 23 games. Betts makes the Red Sox's offense go, and they are going strong now. ...

They are defending world champions and they are beginning to play like it.

Kristie Ackert, Daily News:
It's not just a hiccup anymore. The Yankees starting pitching is a real problem.

Before the Yankees played the Red Sox Friday night, Brian Cashman was not panicking. ... But the bad stretch has now extended into a second turn through the rotation. Paxton was pounded as the Red Sox beat the Yankees 10-5 at Fenway.

In his second straight start of four-innings or less, Paxton allowed seven runs ... Mookie Betts alone burned him three times over, crushing three homers over the Green Monster in the first, third and fourth innings.

"He had really good stuff ..." Aaron Boone said of Paxton. ...

This was a stretch for the Yankees to gauge themselves against what they may face in October. And, let's just say they didn't exactly measure up. ...

In the last six games, starting with Paxton against the Rockies, the Yankees starters have allowed 43 earned runs in 21.5 innings pitched. They gave up 16 homers and none have thrown a pitch in the fifth inning.

Joel Sherman, Post:
The Yankees became the first team in the live-ball era (since 1920) to have a starter permit at least six runs and not exceed four innings in six consecutive games, according to STATS. The six-game starting total is 47 runs in 21.2 innings. All five starters have worked at least once in that stretch, and James Paxton has gone twice, including allowing seven runs (and four homers) in four innings Friday at Fenway Park, meaning the Yankees' staff has surrendered at least three homers in a record-tying five straight games.

Before the latest debacle, general manager Brian Cashman insisted the Yankees were aggressive in the market, but that no failure by the rotation would motivate what he would consider rash, overpaying action. ... [H]aving their rotation permit its most runs over six games since 1912 only will embolden sellers — and that the Yankees might have ignited the Red Sox in the meantime makes it all the worse for them. ...

[T]he Yankees risk further wearing out one of the game's most overused bullpens if they do not get longer, more productive starts ...
Ken Davidoff, Post:
Even if Brian Cashman registers the best week of his long career, he still won't land the Yankees five new starting pitchers by Wednesday's trade deadline.

Therefore ... a few guys currently working in the Yankees' rotation must wake up and deliver. And no slumber is hurting the American League East leaders as much, arguably, as that of the new guy, James Paxton.

The Big Maple got pummeled again Friday night, his Fenway Park debut as a Yankee going about as well as Jackie Mason's debut as a sitcom star. ...

In their past seven outings, the Yankees' starters have combined to allow 48 earned runs in 27.2 innings pitched, a 15.61 ERA and 16 homers. ... Yeesh. ...

It gets ugly early in these Paxton outings. Amazingly, when Betts started the bottom of the first with a blast over the Green Monster, Paxton notched his third straight start in which he had surrendered a leadoff homer. Rafael Devers followed with a base hit and, one out later, J.D. Martinez crushed a two-run homer to left-center field. Paxton's 11.00 first-inning ERA ranks as the worst among all pitchers who have recorded 10 or more starts, per YES Network statistician James Smyth. ...

If the Yankees' most important pitching acquisition of last offseason doesn't find higher ground soon, he'll be drawing comparisons to his New York-phobic predecessor Sonny Gray. And because Paxton has disappointed, Cashman must work harder to find more arm reinforcements and hope they don't turn into Sonny Sequels. ...

Who will lift the Yankees out of their pitching funk?

July 26, 2019

G105: Red Sox 10, Yankees 5

Yankees - 000 001 202 -  5 13  0
Red Sox - 302 202 10x - 10 14  1

Mookie Betts hit three long home runs in his first three times at bat because Yankees starter James Paxton figured that at some point, Betts had to stop pounding every meatball he threw down the middle of the plate about 400 feet.

Sadly [sic], Paxton went bye-bye after four innings (4-9-7-0-9, 99), so he could not test his theory in the latter half of the game. Betts added a run-scoring double in the sixth, and ended the night with four extra-base hits, four runs scored, five RBI, and 14 total bases.

Betts is the fourth Red Sox player to hit three homers in a game against the Yankees, joining Mo Vaughn (May 30, 1997), Kevin Millar (July 23, 2004), and Steve Pearce (August 2, 2018).

Betts is the first Red Sox player to collect as many as 14 total bases against the Yankees (Vaughn had 13 in 1997). Betts also now has the second-most total bases against the Yankees in history. Cleveland's Pat Seerey had 15 total bases (3 homers, 1 triple) on July 13, 1945 and Carl Reynolds of the White Sox had 14 total bases (3 homers, 2 singles) in the second game of a July 2, 1930 doubleheader. Both Seerey and Reynolds drove in eight runs.

Betts is the second Red Sox player ever to have four extra-base hits in a game against the Yankees. Jason Varitek hit two doubles and two home runs on July 4, 2003.

New York's starting pitcher was dog shit for the sixth consecutive game (21.2 innings, 43 earned runs, 17.86 ERA) and the Red Sox mopped the floor with the Yankees for the second straight night. Oddly, Paxton's first seven outs were via strikeout. He's the second pitcher ever to allow seven or more earned runs in four or fewer innings while striking out at least nine batters without a walk. (Got all that?) The other was the Mets' Noah Syndergaard, who struck out 10 Padres over four innings and allowed seven runs on June 6, 2015.

Paxton has allowed seven runs in consecutive starts for the first time in his career. Outside of his "mistakes" the Red Sox crushed (a not-insignificant number of pitches), Paxton said, "I thought I threw the ball pretty well." .. Manager Aaron Boone: "Stuff-wise, I thought he was electric. ... The cutter was really good tonight in a lot of spots. The fastball was really good in a lot of spots."

Boston has outscored their rivals 29-8 over the last two nights. The Red Sox have also set a franchise record by scoring eight or more runs against the Yankees for the fifth consecutive game. The Red Sox have scored 58 runs in their last five games against the Yankees (8, 13, 8, 19, 10), the most in any five-game span in franchise history.

Betts kicked off the bottom of the first with an eight-pitch at-bat, capped by his 16th home run of the year (362 feet). Rafael Devers followed with a single and J.D. Martinez's 21st dong gave Boston a 3-0 lead.

Betts led off the third inning with a solo shot to left (390 feet). One out later, Xander Bogaerts doubled into the left field corner and Martinez tripled into the right field corner, his long fly ball clanking off Aaron Judge's glove.

With two outs in the fourth, Jackie Bradley singled to right (the hit was initially (and correctly) called an E4). Betts got ahead in the count 3-1 and as NESN's Dennis Eckersley and Jerry Remy cackled that there was NO WAY Paxton would be dumb enough to challenge Mookie with another fastball ... Paxton proved he was just dumb enough. And Mookie crushed that pitch over everything in left (376 feet). 7-0, Red Sox.

It was Mookie's fifth game with three home runs, a feat only eight players in history have accomplished.

The night's other big story - or maybe the biggest story, since we already know Betts is super-awesome - was Andrew Cashner (6.2-10-3-1-6, 98). (NESN's Dave O'Brien kept referring to him as "Catch-ner". Someone should clue him in that pronunciation is incorrect.) Cashner allowed only four hits and no runs through 5.2 innings before running out of steam. He gave up three straight singles and a run with two outs in the sixth and a walk, a single, two doubles, and two runs before finally being pulled in the seventh. Cashner was given a standing ovation as he walked off the field.

Michael Chavis singled with one out in the sixth and went to second base on a groundout. Back-to-back doubles from Betts and Devers brought in two more runs. Boston's final run scored on two more doubles (also back-to-back) from Andrew Benintendi and Sam Travis in the following inning. Benintendi's double was actually a foul ball that landed wide of the foul line near the left field corner. No chalk was raised and there was a clear mark in the dirt, completely in foul territory. Third base umpire D.J. Reyburn blew the initial call and when the Yankees challenged it, the umpires in the Replay Center blew the call a second time! Benintendi stood on second base, smiling like he couldn't believe it.

Some NESN Nonsense: After Bogaerts's doubled in the third, Eckersley said (about Paxton hitting 98-99): "It doesn't matter how hard you throw" because big leaguers will crush hittable pitches. Eck was absolutely right. Then, on the very next pitch, Remy gushed about Paxton hitting 97 with ball 1 to Martinez. In the next half inning, O'Brien marveled at Nathan Eovaldi "getting it up to 101 last night". There's no helping some people.

In the seventh, Remy started talking about daytime soap operas, which he has watched for 40+ years. Eckersley jumped right in, saying he watched them in his playing days. Both men were completely serious; Remy expressed real annoyance at Friday cliffhangers that don't get resolved until the next Tuesday. O'Brien kept acting like a sanctimonious prick (he's a natural!), trying to interject some snark about bad acting. To their credit, neither Remy nor Eck paid him any attention.

Note to OB from the Department of The Bleeding Obvious: You've got Eck and Remy talking about Days Of Our Lives and General Hospital. Exercise a modicum of common sense and realize that even if you think soaps are beneath contempt, this discussion can't not be entertaining, so shut your friggin pie hole for a few minutes.

AL East: Rays 3, Blue Jays 1. ... MFY –, TBR 8.5, BOS 9.0.
James Paxton / Andrew Cashner
Betts, RF
Devers, 3B
Bogaerts, SS
Martinez, DH
Vázquez, C
Benintendi, LF
Travis, 1B
Chavis, 2B
Bradley, CF
On April 16, Paxton pitched eight shutout innings against the Red Sox, allowing two hits and striking out 12. He will not do so well tonight.

Andrew Cashner needs to pitch much better than he has in his first two Boston starts: 11 innings, 14 hits, 10 runs, four walks, nine strikeouts, 4 home runs allowed, 2 HBP. 7.36 ERA and an opponents' OPS of 1.083 (.326/.408/.674). ... Cashner faced the Yankees three times this season with the Orioles: March 28 (Opening Day) (4-6-6-4-3, 75), May 15 (6-4-2-2-7, 92) and May 20 (6-5-3-2-3, 92). Baltimore lost all three games.

Last night: The Red Sox set season highs in runs scored (19), hits (23), doubles (10), and extra-base hits (14) in Friday's 19-3 win over the Yankees. The game also marked their most runs, doubles, and extra-base hits ever recorded against the Yankees. The Red Sox have scored eight or more runs in each of their last four games against the Yankees, tied for their longest streak ever (also May-June 1903 and June 1912).

May 9 vs NYY:  Red Sox 12, Yankees 5
June 1 at NYY: Red Sox 8, Yankees 2
June 2 at NYY: Red Sox 9, Yankees 0
June 3 at NYY: Red Sox 9, Yankees 3

June 20 at NYY: Red Sox 15, Yankees 8
June 21 at NYY: Red Sox 11, Yankees 3
June 22 at NYY: Red Sox 13, Yankees 2 (G1)
June 22 at NYY: Red Sox 10, Yankees 3 (G2)
The series was a five-game sweep, as the Red Sox won 5-2 on June 19.

June 2 at NYY:  Red Sox 8, Yankees 5
June 29 vs NYY: Yankees 17, Red Sox 13 (London)
June 30 vs NYY: Yankees 12, Red Sox 8 (London)
July 25 vs NYY: Red Sox 19, Yankees 3
AL East: Rays/Blue Jays, 7 PM. ... MFY –, TBR 9.5, BOS 10.0.

Schadenfreude 255 (A Continuing Series)

Update: Three articles added.

Kristie Ackert, Daily News:
Masahiro Tanaka, was pummeled by the Red Sox Thursday in a career-worst night as the Red Sox beat up the Yankees 19-3 in the first of a four-game series.

It was the most runs the Yankees have ever allowed to the Red Sox, and the most they have allowed to any team since they gave up 22 to Cleveland in 2009. Tanaka is the first Yankees pitcher to allow 12 runs in a game since Red Ruffing allowed 12 Sept. 2, 1939 at Fenway. He is also the first to allow at least 12 earned runs since Carl Mays allowed 13 on July 17, 1923.

Perhaps the ultimate humiliation was when skipper Aaron Boone threw in the towel and had catcher Austin Romine pitch the bottom of the eighth inning, where Romine proceeded to give up two home runs. ...

This week, with road trips to the AL Central-leading Twins and the defending champion Red Sox, the Yankees have had a chance to gauge themselves against potential postseason opponents. The Yankees' five starters had a disastrous turn through the rotation, allowing a combined 40 runs in just 17.2 innings pitched. According to YES, the last time that the Yankees had starters allow six or more runs in five consecutive games was in August of 1945. ...

Tanaka gave up his 12 earned runs on 12 hits. He walked three and struck out two in just 3.1 innings work. In his last two starts against the Red Sox, he has allowed 18 earned runs in four innings.

George A. King III, Post:
Austin Romine was better than Masahiro Tanaka on the mound Thursday night against the Red Sox.

Do you need any more information about how the first of four games between the blood rivals turned out?

Thanks to a rotation that is in a free fall, the Yankees have leaned on a very talented bullpen and a powerful lineup to win games lately.

So when the Red Sox ripped Tanaka for seven runs in the first inning on the way to a 19-3 beating in front of 37,591 at Fenway Park, it was easy to envision a position player taking the ball late in the game.

Seven runs in the first, five in the fourth, three in the fifth, one in the sixth and three against Romine in the eighth was the Red Sox flow chart. ...

Romine [who also pitched in last year's ALDS Game 3 against the Red Sox] gave up three runs in his inning, which was four fewer than Tanaka surrendered in the opening frame. ...

[T]he 19 runs were the most ever scored by Boston against the Yankees.

While fatigue might have played a part in the embarrassing loss because the Yankees arrived at their hotel after 5 a.m. Thursday, Tanaka flew here ahead of the club yet was pounded for 12 hits and 12 runs in 3.1 innings and seemed dazed when asked why.

"I don't know at this point," said Tanaka ... "I feel like the pitches weren't bad. I need to look at ­stuff and figure things out. ... I am not sure at this time why I wasn't able to get outs."
George A. King III, Post (early edition):
In his three starts before London disaster, Tanaka was being viewed by some as the Yankees' Game 1 starter in October thanks to a 2-0 ledger, and 13 strikeouts in 18.1 innings despite a 5.40 ERA.

Nevertheless, Thursday night's pounding has to make people rethink that. The 12 runs and 12 hits allowed were career highs for the right-hander, who is 7-6 with an ERA that soared to 4.79 after being at 4.00 when the miserable evening started. ...

Something about the bottom of the first inning against the Red Sox this season doesn't agree with Tanaka. On June 30 in London, the Red Sox scored six runs in the first before Tanaka could get the third out. ...

As hard as it is to believe, Tanaka was worse Thursday when the Red Sox scored seven runs and sent 11 batters to the plate.

Chris Thompson, Deadspin:
[Tanaka's] final line is pure carnage: 10 outs, 87 pitches, 12 hits, three walks, 12 runs, all of them earned. According to Baseball Reference, Tanaka's outing was the first time in franchise history that a Yankees starter has allowed 12 or more runs while recording 10 or fewer outs. David Wells in 1997 was the only other Yankees starter to allow as many as 11 runs while recording 10 or fewer outs. ...

This next fact is either amazing or heart-breaking or both: after Tanaka's historically awful start Thursday night, his earned run average against the Red Sox in 2019 has actually gone down. The only other time he's faced Boston this season, on June 29, Tanaka gave up six earned runs on 37 pitches, while recording just two outs. His ERA in that game was 81.00; his ERA against Boston after two outings now sits at a disgusting 40.50.

Dan Martin, Post:
Masahiro Tanaka made Yankees history at Fenway Park on Thursday night.

And not the good kind.

Tanaka was pummeled for a dozen runs — all earned — in a 19-3 loss to the Red Sox in a horrid outing to open a four-game series. ...

Tanaka didn't make it out of the fourth in his second straight brutal outing versus Boston.

The previous one came in London on June 29, when Tanaka gave up six runs and didn't even make it out of the first inning. And those are the only times Tanaka has faced Boston this year. ...

He likely wouldn't have survived the first Thursday, either, if the Yankees' bullpen didn't enter the game on fumes ...

It was the latest concerning sign from Tanaka, who has struggled with his splitter for much of the season — including in the sixth inning of his previous outing against the Rockies in The Bronx. ...

Combined with Thursday's nightmare, Tanaka has quickly gone from All-Star to question mark

Kevin Kernan, Post:
For one night at Fenway Park, it was 2018 all over again for the Red Sox.

They looked like defending champions against the Yankees, humiliating Masahiro Tanaka in a 19-3 blowout Thursday night. ...

The Red Sox are in the midst of playing 11 consecutive games against the Yankees and Rays. ...

The Yankees were due for such a collapse after playing a draining three-game series at Target Field against the muscular Twins, but this was even uglier than anyone could have expected. The Red Sox are hoping to gain a little momentum from this win. ...

[T]here is no doubt Boston can be a dangerous opponent if it makes it to the postseason and past the wild-card game.

Mookie Betts is showing life as the leadoff hitter and has reached base safely in 22 straight games. ...

The 19 runs were the most the Red Sox scored against the Yankees since 1913. Their last stand is off to a roaring start.
Kristie Ackert, Daily News:
So much for burying the Red Sox. In the hours after the Red Sox smacked the Yankees 19-3 at Fenway, the Bombers' focus turned back to themselves.

The starting pitching has been brutal for five straight games now, and time is running to improve it, with the MLB trade deadline next Wednesday, July 31. The Yankees' five starters had a disastrous turn through the rotation, allowing a combined 40 runs in just 17.2 innings pitched. According to YES, the last time that the Yankees had starters allow six or more runs in five consecutive games was in August of 1945.

When Masahiro Tanaka got chased in the first inning of his last start against the Red Sox, it was chalked up to the weird conditions at London Stadium. Now, after two straight starts where the Red Sox pounded him, there is plenty to dissect.

And why did Aaron Boone wait until the game was out of hand before he pulled Tanaka? It was reminiscent of Tuesday night in Minnesota, when he waited one batter too long to get Domingo German out of trouble.

The Yankees' clubhouse was sober and quiet on Thursday night after the 19-3 drubbing. ...

There is no reason to panic.
Ken Davidoff, Post:
The sample size grows.

And with it, the need for reinforcements, be they internal, external or both.

Any hopes that the Yankees' starting-rotation funk would cease at one full turn ... evaporated quickly Thursday night at Fenway Park, as Masahiro Tanaka registered multiple career worsts and Austin Romine mopped up in a 19-3 drubbing the Yankees suffered at the hands of the rival Red Sox.

With less than a week to go before the July 31 trade deadline, the Yankees' pitching is experiencing the worst-timed meltdown since Charlie Sheen's a few years back. And no Yankee right now will boast of WINNING! ...

And with Tanaka allowing an astounding 12 runs and 12 hits in his 3.1 innings, his second straight non-quality start, the Yankees' starting pitchers have teamed for a ghastly 15.59 ERA, having allowed 41 earned runs and 12 homers over 23.2 innings pitched over their last six games. Loud and proud, everyone: Yeesh. ...

[T]he Yankees possess a cushion for a temporary malfunction. However, it's very fair to wonder about the overall efficacy of this pitching corps.

The Yankees' arms took such a beating in Minneapolis that they opted to place Brett Gardner, dealing with inflammation in his left knee, on the injured list Thursday and recalled lefty yo-yo Stephen Tarpley from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, giving them a 14th pitcher and leaving them with just a pair of bench players, Romine and Gio Urshela. That Boone proceeded to let Tanaka take a beating despite the abundance of pitchers, and that he turned to his current No.1 catcher Romine (with Gary Sanchez on the injured list) for his second career mound turn after Tarpley and Luis Cessa took their turns, showed just how badly so many guys needed a breather. ...

At this juncture on the calendar, this rough patch, this contained sample, can't be shrugged off.
Two New York Post headlines, six hours apart:
July 25, 2019, 4:29 AM: "Why Yankees Should Be Able To Weather Absence Of Sanchez"
July 25, 2019, 10:51 AM: "Yankees Trade For Another Catcher After Gary Sanchez Injury"