August 31, 2019

G136: Angels 10, Red Sox 4

Red Sox - 102 100 000 -  4  9  0
Angels  - 012 000 07x - 10 13  2
Ryan Brasier took the mound in the bottom of the eighth inning, with the Red Sox up 4-3. It was Boston's third lead of the game and, just like the other two (1-0 and 3-1), it would quickly disappear.

Braiser had pitched in seven games since returning to the team two weeks ago, facing 29 batters in seven innings and giving up only two hits and one run, along with five walks and 12 strikeouts.

On Saturday night, Braiser imploded. Somehow, he was allowed to pitch to eight batters: single, single, single (4-4), K, F8, double (4-5), BBI, single (4-7). Josh Smith came in and gave up a three-run dong to Albert Pujols.

Mookie Betts went 3-for-3 and J.D. Martinez was 2-for-3, with two RBI. Brock Holt went 2-for-4, but he came up empty in a big spot, grounding into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded in the top of the eighth. Minutes later, Brasier coughed up the lead.

AL Wild Card: CLE/OAK/TBR –, BOS 5.5.
Josh Taylor / Dillon Peters
Betts, CF
Devers, 3B
Bogaerts, SS
Martinez, RF
Travis, DH
Benintendi, LF
Vázquez, 1B
Holt, 2B
León, C
After 40 appearances out of the bullpen this year, rookie Josh Taylor will make his first career start. Before Taylor allowed two runs in last night's marathon, he had pitched 12 scoreless innings (with 15 strikeouts) over 12 games dating back to August 6.

The Red Sox signed Jhoulys Chacín (who was released by the Brewers on Monday) to a minor league contract. Chacin has a 5.79 ERA in 19 starts this season and is currently on the injured list with a right oblique strain.

AL Wild Card: CLE/OAK –, TBR 1.0, BOS 5.5.

Theodore Roosevelt Did Not Like Baseball

From The Strenuous Life: Theodore Roosevelt and the Making of the American Athlete by Ryan Swanson, courtesy of LitHub:
During each home baseball game, the Nationals have a presidential mascot race after the top of the fourth inning. The Mt. Rushmore quartet—Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Roosevelt—loop around the field to the delight of Nationals fans. It's good, simple fun. "The only two rules we had," said Josh Golden, the Nationals' director of marketing, "were don't fall down and Teddy doesn't win." And for the first 525 races (yes, 5-2-5), Theodore Roosevelt did not win. Ever. Payback, as they say, is a, well . . . it's not fun.

Roosevelt really began solidifying his place in this baseball purgatory in 1906. During his fifth full year in the White House, his cold war on baseball could no longer be overlooked. The press picked up on the fact that Roosevelt ignored the World Series (PRESIDENT DECLINES. Will Not Be Able to Take in the World's Series) and never attended Major League games in the District [even though the ballpark was only two miles from the White House]. "The fact is," the Baltimore Sun wrote in 1906, "that Mr. Roosevelt is not greatly interested in the national game nor has he ever been." Baseball's leadership could have just let it go. Roosevelt's time in the White House was dwindling; there would be a new president to win over in a couple of years. But no. Rather than minimizing Roosevelt's slight, baseball's leadership launched an all-out assault to win over Roosevelt. ...

[Before the 1907 season] the Sporting Life worked to point out that Roosevelt was one of the few important people in Washington DC not interested in baseball. ... "How Theodore Roosevelt, who instinctively seems to know how to do the thing that pleases the people, came to overlook the diamond and its opportunities is a mystery."

Baseball was on its knees now. There was no sense of shame when it came to chasing down a US president.
Baseball's grovelling included presenting Roosevelt with a lifetime pass - made of solid gold - to any and all baseball games in 36 leagues, covering 256 cities. The pass was the size of a normal baseball ticket and featured an engraved picture of Roosevelt. When the president received the golden ticket, he "expressed his warm thanks". By which I assume he meant "f you".

In another article, Swanson writes that the Nationals let TR win "in a rather fraudulent manner, on the last day of the [2012] regular season". In 2019, Teddy the mascot is "leading the season long tally at Nationals' park."

Swanson wants the Nats to "get their history back in order. Don't let TR, a noted baseball curmudgeon, win anymore. ... [A]nd perhaps, just maybe, the Nationals will find themselves playing playoff baseball again this October".

August 30, 2019

G135: Red Sox 7, Angels 6 (15)

Red Sox - 112 002 000 000 001 - 7  8  1
Angels  - 001 020 102 000 000 - 6 11  1
Mookie Betts slugged his 22nd home run of the year to begin Friday night's game and, fourteen innings later, his 23rd dong was the game-winner. Andrew Cashner pitched four no-hit innings in relief as the Red Sox won for the tenth time in their last 13 games.

Betts is the second player in major league history to hit home runs in the first inning and in the fifteenth inning or later in the same game. Vern Stephens, also of the Red Sox, is the other (May 30, 1951, an 11-10 victory over the Yankees).

Nathan Eovaldi (4-3-1-1-8, 81) had a good start and the Red Sox led 4-0 and 6-3, but the Angels came back, tying the game in the bottom of the ninth.

Brandon Workman entered the game with one out in the eighth inning with the Red Sox ahead 6-4 and gave up a single to Justin Upton that loaded the bases. He then got Kevan Smith to ground his first pitch to second for the third out.

Ryan Brasier had walked two Angels in the eighth, which necessitated Workman's presence in the game. In the ninth, it was Workman who walked the first two batters: Brian Goodwin and Mike Trout. Shohei Ohtani forced Trout at second, but Albert Pujols singled to right. That hit scored Goodwin; when J.D. Martinez could not grab the ground ball cleanly, Ohtani scored.

The Angels had tied the game 6-6 and had Pujols on second. Workman intentionally walked Kole Calhoun. David Fletcher struck out on a wild pitch, which moved the runners to second and third. Andrelton Simmons was then walked intentionally and Matt Thaiss grounded out to second.

Darwinzon Hernandez pitched the tenth and eleventh and allowed three hits, but also struck out five batters.

After scoring in the sixth inning, the Red Sox's bats went on vacation. The Angels retired 20 Boston batters in a row, from the sixth through the twelfth. The Red Sox had a leadoff walk in the thirteenth and left runners at first and third in the fourteenth. Betts homered with two outs in the fifteenth.

Cashner walked Trout with one out in the home half of the fifteenth. Ohtani forced Trout at second before Pujols lined to left to end the game at 3:23 AM (Boston time).

AL Wild Card: CLE/OAK –, TBR 1.0, BOS 5.5.
Nathan Eovaldi / Jose Suarez
Betts, CF
Devers, 3B
Bogaerts, SS
Martinez, RF
Travis, DH
Benintendi, LF
Vázquez, 1B
Holt, 2B
León, C
The Globe's Alex Speier says the Red Sox's "postseason hopes, though not extinguished, remain faint." The Red Sox are in the worst position of the four teams (Athletics, Rays, Cleveland) vying for the two wild card spots. Boston must continue its winning ways (9-3 over the last 12 games) and hope the other teams get cold.

Of Boston's 28 remaining games, 13 are against teams with records of .500 or better. The Red Sox have a .383 winning percentage against .500+ teams, worst among the four contenders (though Cleveland is not much better, at .408).

The Athletics have only seven games remaining against .500+ teams and they have done well against them (.564 winning percentage). The Rays have 11 of 27 games against .500+ teams, including four at home against the Red Sox: September 20-23, on the penultimate weekend of the regular season..

FanGraphs gives the Red Sox a 7.9% chance of making the postseason, with FiveThirtyEight predicting a 5% chance. Baseball Reference has the Red Sox at 2.8% of winning a wild card spot and 1.3% at reaching the ALDS. Baseball Prospectus has the Red Sox at 1.5% for making the ALDS.

The team's best 28-game stretch of the year occurred way back in mid-April. After starting off 6-13, the Red Sox went 19-9. That's something to shoot for - the team would end the season with 91 wins - though Speier acknowledges that the Red Sox turning in perhaps their best four-week stretch of the year while at least two of the three other wild card contenders go into significant slumps is "an improbable development".

AL Wild Card: CLE/OAK –, TBR 1.0, BOS 5.5.

August 28, 2019

After Fifteen Years, A Series of Secret Download Surprises

Okay, here's what's going to happen. Starting today, I will post a link in comments on an almost-daily basis.

From that link, you will be able to download a secret fifteen-year-old surprise. There will be at least 23 surprises between now and October 8. (Probably 26.)

Each download link will be good for seven days. After that, it will expire. So ... if anything from fifteen years ago interests you, you should bookmark this post and check back every day or so.

G134: Red Sox 7, Rockies 4

Red Sox - 002 030 101 - 7 12  0
Rockies - 000 120 100 - 4 11  1
Xander Bogaerts was on base four times, with two home runs (#s 30 and 31), a double, and a walk. He drove in three runs, giving him 100 RBI for the season.

J.D. Martinez (#32) and Rafael Devers (#28) also hit home runs. Devers also singled and tripled, scored three times, and knocked in his 104th run of the year.

Eduardo Rodriguez (5-9-3-3-5, 104) dealt with one or more runners on base in every inning.

AL Wild Card: CLE/OAK –, TBR 1.0, BOS 5.0.
Eduardo Rodriguez / Peter Lambert
Betts, RF
Devers, 3B
Bogaerts, SS
Martinez, LF
Moreland, 1B
Holt, 2B
Vázquez, C
Bradley, CF
Rodriguez, P
The Red Sox have won eight of their last 11 games. (Before that, of course, they had lost 12 of 16 and pretty much buried themselves.)

J.D. Martinez's last 32 games: .392/.462/.760 (1.222 OPS), with 12 homers and 34 RBIs.

AL Wild Card: CLE/OAK –, TBR 1.0, BOS 6.0.

August 27, 2019

G133: Red Sox 10, Rockies 6

Red Sox - 110 220 400 - 10 10  0
Rockies - 000 020 022 -  6 15  3
Jackie Bradley, Christian Vázquez, and Xander Bogaerts welcomed Rockies rookie Rico Garcia (5-7-6-5-2, 83) to the major leagues on Tuesday night, hitting home runs in Boston's lop-sided victory.

Garcia's first pitch to Bradley in the second inning was a fastball down the heart of the plate at 91.

JBJ annihilated it: 478 feet. It was the longest home run by a Red Sox player since at least 2015 (when Statcast started tracking dongs). Rick Porcello (5-8-2-0-5, 79) was impressed: "I don't think I've ever seen a ball go that far. That was incredible." It was the seventh longest homer in the majors this season.

In the game thread, fenfan noted that NESN (surprise!) had no clue where the ball was: "Of course, the NESN camera missed the ball actually landing in the third deck of the Coors Field bleachers".

And Jere later remarked: "So fuckin' classic. They love to show the moon on warning track fly balls, and finally somebody hits a moonshot, and they stay low. And then here come the replays, which act as proof that NONE of their cameras followed that ball all the way. (I went to the Rockies' channel and saw where it actually landed.)"

Here is NESN's live shot. The ball is crashing into the deck above the one at the top of the screen. NESN viewers did not see the ball until it caromed out of the third deck and landed in the outfield.

Vázquez hit a two-run shot in the fourth and Bogaerts hit a solo shot in the fifth. Later in the inning, Brock Holt's ground-rule double scored Mitch Moreland.

Colorado reliever Jake McGee faced five batters to start the seventh and they all reached base; four of them scored. Rafael Devers walked, Bogaerts doubled, J.D. Martinez singled (7-2), Mitch Moreland reached on a FC/E4 (8-2), and Holt (who finished the night 3-for-4) singled (10-2).

The Red Sox had 10 hits and eight walks.

AL Wild Card: CLE/OAK –, TBR 1.0, BOS 6.0.
Rick Porcello / Rico Garcia (major league debut)
Betts, RF
Devers, 3B
Bogaerts, SS
Martinez, LF
Moreland, 1B
Holt, 2B
Vázquez, C
Bradley, CF
Porcello, P
David Price pitched a simulated game today, throwing 54 pitches in three innings. He may start on Sunday in Anaheim.

Dustin Pedroia will be hanging out with the Red Sox in Colorado. FY texted WEEI:
Had a check-up with the doctor this morning [Monday] and I'll see the guys the next two days and then I'll be in Vail until Monday rehabbing. The surgery went really great. I'm still on crutches for two more weeks but things are going really good compared to where I was before the surgery.
Pedroia underwent a chondroplasty that included the removal of bone spurs on August 7.

AL Wild Card: CLE/OAK/TBR –, BOS 6.0.

August 25, 2019

G132: Padres 3, Red Sox 1

Red Sox - 000 100 000 - 1  4  0
Padres  - 300 000 00x - 3  5  1
For the second straight start, Brian Johnson (3-4-3-3-1, 61) gave up three runs in the first inning. He settled down and the Padres did not score again, but the Red Sox lost. The same thing happened on August 20, when the Phillies got three early runs and won 3-2.

Johnson's first four batters went: double, stolen base, single, home run, walk. His first-inning ERA this season is 11.57 and opponents are hitting .394 with a 1.171 OPS. ... After that, the Padres had only two hits, doubles in the third and fifth.

But the Red Sox were helpless against Joey Lucchesi (5-3-1-2-3, 73) and four relievers. Their first baserunner was Chris Owings, who walked with one out in the third. J.D. Martinez's solo home run (#31) with two down in the fourth was Boston's first hit and only run. Sam Travis followed with a single, but was forced at second to end the inning.

In the fifth, Marco Hernández singled with two outs and Mookie Betts walked, but Rafael Devers grounded to first.

The Red Sox went in order in the sixth and seventh. Brock Holt singled to left to start the eighth and Betts reached on an error. But the inning's promises came up empty as Devers grounded into a 4-6-3 double play and, after Xander Bogaerts walked, Martinez struck out.

In the ninth, Travis grounded to shortstop and Christian Vázquez and Jackie Bradley went down swinging.

AL Wild Card: CLE/TBR –, OAK 0.5, BOS 6.0.
Brian Johnson / Joey Lucchesi
Betts, RF
Devers, 3B
Bogaerts, SS
Martinez, LF
Travis, 1B
Vázquez, C
Bradley, CF
Owings, 2B
Johnson, P
Chris Owings should never be in the starting lineup. Ever. ... .077/.143/.154. ... Platoon, my ass.

AL Wild Card: CLE/TBR –, OAK 0.5, BOS 6.0.

NY Post: "Gary Sanchez Doesn't Know A Thing About Baseball"

Phil Mushnick, Post:
In 60 years of watching baseball, it took until Thursday night to finally put my wrinkly, crooked index finger on it. I realized what has been right in front of me the past five seasons: Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez, a two-time All-Star, knows almost nothing — nothing — about how to play baseball.

It seem as if several times per game he shows himself to be totally unfamiliar with the sport, beyond swinging as hard as he can to try to hit home runs.

Everything else either throws him or escapes him.

Thursday against the A's in Oakland, Sanchez led off the second with an, oops, line-drive single. The next batter, Brett Gardner, hit a hard grounder to first — the ball's first bounce was immediate, just a few feet beyond the plate — yet Sanchez was seen running toward second at a minimized pace because he was looking back toward first.

What did he expect to see at or near first? I don't know. A pink flamingo?

If he wanted to see a force play on Gardner, he did. But why he didn't head directly toward second on a ground ball was more hard evidence that Sanchez doesn't know enough about baseball to know how it should be played.

With the throw from first now headed toward second, Sanchez only needed to slide to beat that throw — it would be high and wide — as the force was no longer in play.

But Sanchez awkwardly pulled into second, standing, then, trying to elude the tag, fell off balance then off the bag before he was tagged out to complete a double play.

Even by today's diminished skills and standards, this was a double play that appeared as the residual of Sanchez, yet again, failing to recognize or practice elementary, remedial common sense baseball.

On YES, the first words heard were, incredibly, praise for A's first baseman Matt Olson for a fine, head-up play. Huh? He fielded a grounder, stepped on first then threw wildly to second? Fine play? Only as fine as Sanchez allowed.

During a replay, David Cone said, "For some reason Sanchez didn't slide." For some reason? It was the same reason — Sanchez doesn't know how to play the game. But in 2019, as long as he hits home runs, that's plenty good enough.

Cone concluded it "was a weird play." Weird? No. Why? It was the logical conclusion to Sanchez's illogical, organization-indulged sense of baseball.

And game after game we have to suffer such ignore-the-conspicuous commentary as if we're too stupid to know better.

Sanchez plays his position as if under a spell, a fog that fills him with indifference. He runs the bases — when he's in the mood — as if he's lost beyond anything more challenging or thought-worthy than a home run trot.

But to pretend that we can't see or recognize when players are the victims of their own deficiencies — not the victims of superior play by opponents — is insulting to viewers who know and deserve better.
A look back:

August 24, 2019

G131: Red Sox 5, Padres 4

Red Sox - 001 300 001 - 5 10  0
Padres  - 000 300 100 - 4  7  1
Brock Holt led off the top of the ninth inning by hitting Kirby Yates's first pitch over the right-field wall. It was Holt's third home run of the season and it was the margin of victory in the Red Sox's 5-4 win on Saturday evening.

The bottom of the ninth was tense as Brandon Workman went K, BB, WP, K, BB to his first four batters. Eric Hosmer, who had hit a two-run homer back in the fourth inning, struck out on three pitches, fouling off two inside offerings before swinging and missing a low knucklecurve. The Padres ended up putting none of Workman's 23 pitches into play.

Holt also scored the Red Sox's first run, in the third. Mitch Moreland singled to left and Holt was hit by a pitch. Nathan Eovaldi bunted to first and Hosmer's throw across the diamond forced Moreland at third. Mookie Betts singled to right, scoring Holt.

The first four Boston batters reached base in the fourth. J.D. Martinez singled and Andrew Benintendi walked. Christian Vázquez's double to center made it 3-0 and then "Someone Named" scored on Moreland's single.

Eovaldi (3-4-2-1-3, 64) gave two of the runs back in the bottom half of the inning. Manny Machado singled and Hosmer went boom. Marcus Walden gave up a double to Hunter Renfroe, his first batter. Renfroe went to third on a fly to center and scored on a grounder to short.

Dinelson Lamet (5-6-4-3-5, 88) walked Xander Bogaerts and JDM with one out in the fifth, but Benintendi hit into a 4-6-3 double play. The Padres also turned a double play to end the eighth.

Darwinzon Hernandez pitched a perfect fifth and Ryan Brasier did the same in the sixth, striking out two. Unfortunately, Brasier also began the seventh. He walked Luis Urias and then, after striking out Austin Hedges, hit Francisco Mejia with a pitch. Josh Taylor came in and gave up a game-tying single to Ty (!) France. Taylor walked Machado with two outs to load the bases, but Hosmer, providing a preview of what he'd do again two innings later, struck out.

MFY Watch: The AL East is out of reach, but it's always fun knowing the Yankees lost a heartbreaker. The MFY trailed the Dodgers 2-1, but had the bases loaded in the top of the ninth. They came up empty when Kenley Jansen struck out both Mike Tauchman (ffs) and Gary Maniloaf (ffbs). ... The Yankees got burned by LA infielder Max Muncy, who exaggerated how hurt he was after a collision with Brett Gardner at second base, causing an umpire to call time.

Gleyber Torres had left third and hoped to score the tying run, but with the play dead, he was sent back to third ... where he watched his two teammates go down on strikes. (Muncy: "He still got me good, it still hurt, so it wasn't entirely fake ... but there might have been a little acting class in there." Torres: "I don't know what is wrong with umpires today.") The Yankees have lost five of their last six games.

AL Wild Card: CLE/TBR –, OAK 0.5, BOS 6.0.
Nathan Eovaldi / Dinelson Lamet
Betts, CF
Devers, 3B
Bogaerts, SS
Martinez, RF
Benintendi, LF
Vázquez, C
Moreland, 1B
Holt, 2B
Eovaldi, P
AL Wild Card: TBR/OAK/CLE –, BOS 6.5.

Some Thoughts On Dave O'Brien's Constant, Passive-Aggressive Complaints About His Inhumane Work Schedule



There are several dozen qualified announcers who would kill for the opportunity to call Red Sox games on TV. NESN's management should step up and give Dave O'Brien's job to one of those announcers because, from all indications (his moaning about long games, late flights, and pre-dawn hotel check-ins, boo hoo), O'Brien clearly would rather be somewhere else. Getting rid of OB would also stem the nightly tide into viewers' ears of wrong information and ignorant commentary.

August 23, 2019

Astros Violate CBA at Justin Verlander's Request, Forbid Reporter Access To Clubhouse; In 2017, Nationals Threatened To Revoke A Journalist's Credentials Over A Picture Of A Sandwich

Astros pitcher Justin Verlander asked the team to bar Detroit Free Press reporter Anthony Fenech (the Tigers beat writer since 2015) from the team's clubhouse on Wednesday night. The Astros, in what was a clear violation of baseball's collective bargaining agreement, agreed.

Astros vice president of communications Gene Dias said Verlander was "adamant" that he would not speak to any credentialed media if Fenech was present. And so three members of Astros security blocked the door into the clubhouse.

The Free Press reported:
[P]reventing a reporter from entering the clubhouse on time could violate Section 2 of the Regular Season Club/Media Relations Guidelines in the collective bargaining agreement, which gives working media access to both clubhouses "no later than 10 minutes following the final out of each game." In Wednesday's case, the Free Press was admitted 19 minutes after the game ended and six minutes later than other credentialed media.

Also, Section 6 of the guidelines requires players to be "available to the media before and after games for interviews." It wasn't immediately clear whether the Astros' decision to delay Fenech's access to Verlander would violate the rule.
The following morning (yesterday), Verlander posted two tweets:
I declined to speak with the @freep rep last night because of his unethical behavior in the past. I reached out to the @freep multiple times before the game to notify them why and to give them an opportunity to have someone else there. Ironically they didn't answer. ...

Although I tried to avoid this situation altogether, I've still reached out to @freep multiple times today with no response. They're still not interested in my side of the story.
Eight minutes later, Free Press sports editor Chris Thomas seemed to politely call bullshit on Verlander, replying:
I would like to know who you have contacted @freep about telling your side of the story. My reporter has not heard from you directly, nor have I. My email is listed on the article we published last night. I am more than happy to speak with you about it.
The Astros stated that Fenech was "delayed temporarily" from entering the Astros clubhouse because of "the past history" between Verlander and the writer and the pitcher's "legitimate concerns" about those interactions. Verlander, ever thoughtful, was also apparently concerned about "the best interests of the other media members" in the clubhouse.

The BBWAA stated that it was "alarmed" by the Astros' decision "to restrict the clubhouse access of a reporter", which "violated the MLB club-media regulations".

MLB vice president of communications Mike Teevan:
Per our Club-Media Regulations, the reporter should have been allowed to enter the clubhouse postgame at the same time as the other members of the media. We have communicated this to the Astros.
I'm extremely disappointed with the Astros' inexplicable decision to limit my ... access on Wednesday night. In my time as the Tigers beat writer for the Free Press, my foremost goal has been fair and ethical coverage. I am confident that goal has been clearly and consistently achieved in my body of work and with the personal and professional way I build relationships across baseball.
Brittany Ghiroli (The Athletic) covered the Orioles for nine years and recalls a somewhat similar confrontation with an Orioles pitcher. In that case, however, Baltimore's PR department did not kowtow to the player, but instead arranged a meeting between Ghiroli and the player. The two adults discussed and resolved the situation.
Verlander says what he thinks and, for the media, that's usually a good thing. Why not afford him the private opportunity to do exactly that if he had a problem with a particular person? ...

[Verlander's issue] is believed to be an innocuous conversation the veteran righty was having that Fenech used as Twitter fodder. Verlander felt it was eavesdropping, not reporting. Fenech, who has been the Tigers beat writer since 2015, clearly felt otherwise. Several smaller incidents over the years kept the relationship strained, and it's unclear if that incident — from several years ago — or something else was what ultimately set things off. ...

Verlander could have refused to answer Fenech's question postgame in the scrum, or given him a rude stare. In our profession, that still would have been acceptable. ...

As news of this circulated Thursday morning, I got a few texts from current players. Oddly enough, in this case, they were all on the media's side.

It's his ego, one player opined of Verlander.

If it was anyone else, said another, would this have even happened?

Verlander could have taken the high road Thursday. Failing that, the Astros could have looked at this as a situation that needed to be resolved between two adult men. ...

Now, it won't go quietly. The Free Press is angry, with plans to file a grievance.

The Astros had a chance to not let this become the story. What I don't understand is why they didn't even try.
Here's an amusing headline from Awful Announcing: Reporter says Nationals threatened his credentials because he unknowingly violated Darren Rovell's "exclusive rights to a sandwich"
There's been a lot of criticism of Darren Rovell (formerly of ESPN, now with the Action Network) over the years for taking others' content with poor or no credit, creating Twitter rules he doesn't actually follow, sending misleading tweets (and even misleading fake newspaper covers), dropping ridiculous takes, posting absurd videos, going on about his brand, and fighting with everyone (amongst other things).

That intensified Thursday with a detailed story from Robert Silverman in The Daily Beast about criticism Rovell has faced for his Action Network picks ...

But Thursday saw an even better Rovell story on Twitter from Brody Logan, about how the Washington Nationals once got made at him for spoiling Rovell's "exclusive rights to a sandwich."
A few months ago, Logan recounted the episode (from October 2017) in a series of seven tweets:
Figure this is a good place for my own Rovell story.

Few years ago I was working in DC, got a DM from a viewer "you see this?" It was a picture of a new food offering at Nats Park. A sandwich with some Maryland crab, DC halfsmoke, Virginia ham. All the best from the DMV

So I thanked him, took the picture, and tweeted it out [October 6, 2017] with a description of this new DMV food offering. Tweet took off, got on blogs, whatever. Later that night I get a message from my boss "we have an issue with the Nationals you need to see me when you get in."

The Nationals called my corporate bosses over the picture, because Rovell saw my tweet and complained to the Nats because they had granted him EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS to a sandwich. So the Nats contacted my boss threatening retribution if I didn't remove the picture....of a hot dog.

I had to write an apology to the Nationals explaining that I was unaware it was possible to have a hot dog exclusive, because if I didn't, I could have lost my credentials for the season. Because R*vell complained to the team I tweeted a picture sent to me by a third party.

I'm not the only one that has had this guy call teams for sharing food pictures he thought we're exclusive to him. Great guy.

The worst part is I had to have a meeting over this stupid thing, and that my boss had to take time out of his day to deal with it, and that the team couldn't just say "yeah yeah, no problem, we'll talk to him" then do nothing and let it slide. But no, it became a work ordeal.

The Dullness Of Nickname Weekend Makes Me Sad

Nostalgia is little more than history gone rancid, but it sure seems like baseball nicknames were better in the "good old days". It's Nickname Weekend throughout major league baseball and my only thought is: Can these guys really do no better than this???

Even worse ... the uniforms will be in black and white! A statement from MLB claims that these "fashionable monochromatic uniforms" are "inspired by players' style choices when they are away from the field". ... Uh-huh.

Every team's roster is plagued by a near-total lack of creativity. ... David Price really should have gone with "YUCK", but from where I sit, he has no sense of humour.

Xander Bogaerts - X-MAN (X in 2017)
Jackie Bradley Jr. - JBJ
Brock Holt - BH
Brian Johnson - BJ

Shortening Of Last Name (Or A Slight Variation)
Andrew Cashner - CASH
Marcus Walden - WALDO
Ryan Weber - WEB
Brandon Workman - WORK

Adding "Y" To The End Of Last Name (Or A Shortened Version Thereof)
Matt Barnes - BARNESY
Andrew Benintendi - BENNY
Dustin Pedroia - PEDEY

First Name Instead Of Last Name
Mookie Betts - MOOKIE (Not his birth name, but not really a 'nickname' either)

Name Of Son
Sandy León - NOAH ("I don't have a nickname, so I figured my son's name is perfect")
David Price - X (Xavier; Roman numerial 10)

No Goddamn Change At All
Darwinzon Hernandez - HERNANDEZ
Rick Porcello - PORCELLO
Steve Pearce - PEARCE
Josh Taylor - TAYLOR

An Embarrassment
Alex Cora - SKIPPER

Wait! Actual, Real Nicknames!
Michael Chavis - CHIEF (From his father's Cherokee heritage; now prefers Ice Horse.)
Rafael Devers - CARITA (Baby Face)
Nathan Eovaldi - NITRO (A reference to his fastball, from his high school coach.)
Heath Hembree - HEATER (Another fastball reference, probably.)
J.D. Martinez - FLACO (Skinny, a nickname he got when he was 12 ("I was a twig").)
Mitch Moreland - 2-BAGS (From Red Sox fans on Twitter. "I like it ... there could be a lot worse.")
Eduardo Rodriguez - EL GUALO (Rodriguez has not explained this one for a few years.)
Chris Sale - THE CONDUCTOR (Courtesy of Pedroia: "What does a conductor do? Punches tickets.")
Sam Travis - DR. CHILL (Travis uses the word 'chill' a lot, according to minor league teammate Danny Mars.)
Christian Vázquez - COLO (SNCV claims it means "winter ball" (I am skeptical); says it's "a coleopterous, tetramerous, curculionid insect of South America". Any one of those three adjectives would look cool on the back of a uniform.)

2018: Barnes/Barnacles, Holt/Brockstar, Bogaerts/Bodie, Porcello/Ventidos, Pearce/Late Lightning, Price/Slim Dunkin. ... 2017: Pedroia/Laser Show, Sale/Stickman, Price/Astro's Dad.

The glory days of nicknames at JoS was long ago, but we have Einstein, Fuck Yeah, SNCV, and Mushroom.

G130: Red Sox 11, Padres 0

Red Sox - 330 104 000 - 11 14  1
Padres  - 000 000 000 -  0  5  2
J.D. Martinez drove in a career-best seven runs with a pair of home runs, a single, and a sac fly.

Eduardo Rodriguez (7-5-0-1-6, 93) had everything working and enjoyed an embarrassment of riches, having four double plays turned behind him. RdRo also reached base on an error in the sixth inning and scored the first run of his major league career.

After Martinez's three-run dong with one out in the first (after Mookie Betts's double and Rafael Devers's single), the Red Sox never looked back. They scored three more runs in the second, as Mitch Moreland walked, Brock Holt singled, Betts had a sac fly, and Devers and Xander Bogaerts hit back-to-back doubles into the right-field corner. Martinez's sac fly made it 7-0 in the fourth and his 30th home run of the year, in the sixth, upped the score to 11-0.

Rodriguez was economical (11-15-11 18-11-18 9) and pitched to only one batter with more than one baserunner, and that batter - Manny "Last WS Out" Machado, in the fourth - hit into a double play. Josh Smith worked the last two innings, retiring five straight until an infield error gave the Padres a man on first. But a force at second ended the game minutes later.

Martinez has a 1.215 OPS in August (.392/.472/.743), with seven homers and 19 RBIs. ... Devers scored three runs and hit his 48th double of the year.

The last two Red Sox players with two homers and at least seven RBI in a game were Mookie Betts (4-for-6, 2 homers, 8 RBI, on July 2, 2017, in a 15-1 win over Blue Jays) and Mookie Betts (4-for-6, 3 homers, 8 RBI, on August 14, 2016, in a 16-2 win over the Diamondbacks).

Tonight was the 33rd instance in team history. ... David Ortiz and Jackie Bradley both did it in 2015. ... Walt Dropo and Bobby Doerr both did it in a 29-4 rout of the Browns on June 8, 1950.

P.S. The Red Sox's black uniforms were dull and boring, but the Padres' white get-ups were fucking ugly.

AL Wild Card: TBR/OAK/CLE –, BOS 6.5.
Eduardo Rodriguez / Chris Paddack
Betts, CF
Devers, 3B
Bogaerts, SS
Martinez, RF
Benintendi, LF
Vázquez, C
Moreland, 1B
Holt, 2B
Rodriguez, P

The lefty is 6-2 with a 3.61 ERA in 13 career starts against National League teams.
Noting Rodriguez's past performances against the Padres would be ignorant. ... I assume the only reason that "stat" is not included is that EdRo has never pitched against San Diego.

Noting Rodriguez's past performances against the National League West would be idiotic. ... He has faced the Rockies and Dodgers earlier this year (and the Dodgers back in 2016), but maybe considers three starts over four seasons a small sample size. (Remember in April 2018 when Dave O'Brien wondered why Chris Sale's stats against the NL East were so much worse than his numbers against the NL Central and West?)

Noting Rodriguez's past performances against the entire National League is Trump-level moronic. ... In addition to two starts against the Dodgers, Rodriguez has faced the Cardinals twice (both in 2017). He has seen nine other teams exactly once (Cubs, Reds, Rockies, Marlins, Brewers, Phillies, Pirates, Nationals, and Atlanta). It's 13 starts over five seasons.

I suppose fans are supposed to be encouraged by Rodriguez's solid record and ERA, but in what way does his 2015 start against the Phillies offer optimism for tonight? Sure, he allowed only one run in seven innings, but he was pitching against Jeff Francoeur (retired after 2016), Darin Ruf (last played in the majors in 2016, now in Korea), Cody Asche (who last played in 2017, now hitting .208 with the Portland Red Sox), Darnell Sweeney (who has four major league plate appearances since 2015 and is currently with the Kansas City T-Bones), and Aaron Altherr (who has suited up for three teams this year, none of them the Padres).

I think I'll listen to Padres announcer Don Orsillo tonight.

AL Wild Card: OAK/TBR –, CLE 0.5, BOS 7.0.

August 22, 2019

G117: Red Sox 5, Royals 4 (10) (Suspended August 7, Completed August 22)

Royals  - 002 001 100 0 - 4 13  0
Red Sox - 000 220 000 1 - 5 12  0
The completion of the Red Sox's suspended game of August 7 took only 12 minutes on Thursday afternoon. Brock Holt singled with one out in the bottom of the tenth inning, scoring Chris Owings from second base with the winning run.

When play resumed in the top of the tenth inning, Josh Taylor was back on the mound, as he was two weeks ago. Nick Dini, pinch-hitting for Meibrys Viloria, inherited a 2-1 count and lined out to first on the first pitch he saw. Ryan O'Hearn struck out looking and pinch-hitter Bubba Starling grounded out to shortstop.

In the bottom of the inning, Richard Lovelady struck out Andrew Benintendi before Christian Vázquez doubled to center. Owings ran for Vázquez and Sam Travis batted for Mitch Moreland. The Royals walked Travis intentionally. Holt then lifted a 1-1 pitch into the left field corner, scoring Owings. Holt rounded first base and headed for second, chased by his teammates. As Holt neared second base, he suddenly turned left and sprinted past the pitcher's mound and slid into home plate!

NESN's replay of the game-winning hit featured its trademark Mega-Zooming, so what viewers saw of Holt was only below the waist. They could not watch him track the pitch with his eyes or see his arms as he swung the bat. Thanks, as always, NESN.

Betts, RF
Devers, 3B
Bogaerts, SS
Martinez, DH
Benintendi, LF
Vázquez, C
Moreland, 1B
Holt, 2B
Bradley, CF
August 7's Royals/Red Sox game was suspended in the top of the tenth inning. Red Sox reliever Josh Taylor had a 2-1 count on leadoff batter Meibrys Viloria. The game will resume at 1 PM today.

Eduardo Rodriguez, Darwinzon Hernandez, Nathan Eovaldi, and Brandon Workman have already pitched in the game. ... Andrew Benintendi will lead off the bottom of the tenth.

The Red Sox have not had a suspended game since April 16, 2010, when a home game against the Rays was stopped in the bottom of the ninth, with the score 1-1. The Rays won the game the following day: 3-1 (12).

The last time the Red Sox had a suspended game that was not resumed the next day was more than 50 years ago: June 13, 1968. The second game of a Fenway Park doubleheader between the Angels and Red Sox was halted in the bottom of the sixth inning, also with the score 1-1. The game was completed on August 4, when Ken Harrelson's walkoff grand slam in the bottom of the ninth gave Boston a 5-1 win. (The game had originally been scheduled for June 10, but a rainout created the need for a June 13 doubleheader.)

After the game is completed, the Red Sox will begin a road trip to San Diego, Colorado, and Los Angeles (Dodgers).
Royals  - 002 001 100 * - 4 13  0
Red Sox - 000 220 000   - 4 10  0

Wednesday's game was suspended in the top of the tenth inning after a rain delay of 109 minutes.

The game will be continued on Thursday, August 22, at 1 PM. Boston reliever Josh Taylor had thrown only three pitches in the inning, a 2-1 count on Meibrys Viloria.

August 22 is an off-day for both teams. The Red Sox host the Phillies on Wednesday, so they'll stay in Boston an extra day before flying to San Diego. The Royals' schedule has them in Baltimore on Wednesday and in Cleveland on Friday.

J.D. Martinez (2-for-5) hit a two-run homer in the fourth and Xander Bogaerts (3-for-5) doubled in two runs in the fifth.

Eduardo Rodriguez (5-7-2-3-1, 101) needed 30 pitches to escape the first inning, leaving the bases loaded. After getting two outs in the third, he issued two walks and gave up two singles. (Rodriguez threw 76 pitches through three innings, tied for most by a Red Sox starter through three innings this year.) Rodriguez was helped out by an 8-5 double play in the fourth, as Jackie Bradley threw out Billy Hamilton at third base.

Bogaerts singled to lead off the fourth and Martinez homered to deep left-center (#25), tying the game at 2-2. With one out in the fifth, Mookie Betts singled and Rafael Devers walked. Bogaerts smoked a double down the third base line and into the left field corner. Both runners scored easily.

Darwinzon Hernandez struck out the first two Royals in the sixth, but gave up a double to Hamilton and a run-scoring single to Whit Merrifield. In the seventh, against Nathan Eovaldi, Hunter Dozier singled. A wild pitch and a groundout put Dozier on third with two outs. Nicky Lopez doubled off Brock Holt's glove, as the second baseman dove to his right. The ball died in short center field. (Eovaldi had five strikeouts in two innings.)

AL Wild Card: CLE/TBR –, OAK 0.5, BOS 6.0, TEX 7.0.

Glenn Sparkman / Eduardo Rodriguez
Betts, RF
Devers, 3B
Bogaerts, SS
Martinez, DH
Benintendi, LF
Vázquez, C
Moreland, 1B
Holt, 2B
Bradley, CF
I was thinking ... If the Red Sox can win the World Series every five years or so, I can live with a third-place finish/.500 season. That doesn't mean I'll be running to watch this one, though. Also, I would like to know when the championship seasons will be, so I can plan my calendar.

AL Wild Card: CLE/TBR –, OAK 0.5, TEX 6.5, BOS 6.5.

August 21, 2019

G129: Phillies 5, Red Sox 2

Phillies - 000 030 101 - 5  6  1
Red Sox  - 110 000 000 - 2  8  2
Wednesday evening featured yet another discouraging performance by the Red Sox. The bats scored two early runs and then took the rest of the night off. Rick Porcello (5-3-3-4-3, 100) ran into trouble in the fifth and those three runs were enough for the Phillies to finish off a sweep of the two-game series.

The Red Sox are now 33-34 on their home field this season and last week's five-game winning streak feels like a distant memory.

The night started with some promise when Mookie Betts and Rafael Devers hit back-to-back doubles, but the first inning ended with a sizeable squander. A one-out wild pitch put Devers on third and J.D. Martinez walked. The opportunity for more runs fizzled as Andrew Benintendi struck out and Sam Travis flied to center.

Bad luck stung the Red Sox in the second as Marco Hernández was gunned down trying to steal second right before Jackie Bradley homered to right (#16). In the fourth, Benintendi doubled and Travis was safe on an infield single (events that would have been very welcome back in the first). Christian Vázquez bunted the runners to second and third and Hernández walked. Bradley struck out swinging and - after the Phillies pulled Drew Smyly (3.2-5-2-3-4, 84) and brought in Jared Hughes - Betts grounded to third, leaving three runners on base.

Immediately after that LOB-tomy, the Phillies (naturally) grabbed the lead. César Hernández doubled to right. Porcello threw a wild pitch and Hernández scored when Devers could not catch Vázquez's off-balance throw. Adam Haseley walked. Rhys Hoskins flied out, but Bryce Harper homered to left (#27), giving Philadelphia a 3-2 lead. (Porcello walked a batter in each of the first three innings.)

Ryan Brasier gave up a single and a walk and was charged with an error on a wild pickoff throw, but escaped without allowing a run. Andrew Cashner was not such fortunate in the seventh, issuing a leadoff walk to Hoskins and a two-out triple to Corey Dickerson.

The Red Sox had one more squander up their sleeves. They put the potential tying runs on base, as Travis reached on a fielder's choice and Vázquez doubled to right. Alex Cora sent Chris Owings (his OPS+ this year is 7) up to pinch-hit for Hernández. José Álvarez had little trouble striking out Owings (who is now 1-for-13, with nine strikeouts, with the Red Sox).

Héctor Neris retired Boston's 9-1-2 batters in order in the ninth, with Betts and Devers making the game's final two outs.

AL Wild Card: CLE/TBR –, OAK 0.5, BOS 7.0.
Drew "Guy" Smyly / Rick Porcello
Betts, RF
Devers, 3B
Bogaerts, SS
Martinez, DH
Benintendi, LF
Travis, 1B
Vázquez, C
Hernández, 2B
Bradley, CF
Mookie Betts is on pace to finish the season with 146 runs scored (he leads the majors with 115 right now). Ted Williams is the only Red Sox player to score 140+ runs in a season: 141 in 1942, 142 in 1946, 150 in 1959. (Before 1961, regular seasons were roughly eight games shorter than they are now.) A Red Sox player has not topped 130 runs in almost 70 years, since Dom DiMaggio finished the 1950 season with 131. Betts scored 129 runs last season.

Red Sox relievers have allowed only one run in the last five games (23.1 innings, 0.39 ERA). ... They have not allowed a home run since August 12 (102 batters). ... Matt Barnes leads American League relievers with 16.13 K/9.

AL Wild Card: CLE/TBR –, OAK 0.5, BOS 6.5.

August 20, 2019

G128: Phillies 3, Red Sox 2

Phillies - 300 000 000 - 3  7  0
Red Sox  - 002 000 000 - 2  6  0
The Red Sox were unable to match their longest winning streak of the season with a victory on Tuesday night. After winning five straight, Boston saw its bats go cold, unable to come back from an early three-run deficit. The Red Sox had a runner on second base and no one out three times in the final five innings – and came up empty each time.

Brian Johnson (3.2-6-3-2-4, 67) stumbled immediately out of the gate. He walked Rhys Hoskins to begin the evening and, after getting J.T. Realmuto on a popup to second, was hit for back-to-back doubles by Bryce Harper and Jean Segura. Corey Dickerson grounded out, but Scott Kingery singled in a third run. Johnson gave up another single before getting the third out.

After the first inning, the Phillies managed only three hits and no runs. Unfortunately, the Red Sox's hitters performed little better against Aaron Nola (7-4-2-1-7, 104) and three relievers. Boston scored two runs in the third on Mitch Moreland's leadoff single and Jackie Bradley's one-out home run (#15). After that, there was a whole lot of nothing going on.

The Red Sox went in order in the fourth, with Nola striking out two. Christian Vázquez doubled to start the fifth, but Moreland fanned, Brock Holt grounded to second, and Bradley grounded to first.

Mookie Betts started the sixth with a single to left, and stole second base. But the best of the Boston lineup failed to even advance him. Rafael Devers struck out, Xander Bogaerts flied to left, and J.D. Martinez grounded to third.

Nola struck out two batters in a perfect seventh. Bradley singled to center with one out in the eighth, but, facing Mike Morin, Betts struck out swinging and Devers lined to center.

Hector Neris started the bottom of the ninth and he made Bogaerts look bad on an outside splitter. Catcher Andrew Knapp called for that pitch again on 1-2, but Neris shook him off, twice. Bogaerts smoked Neris's fastball to the warning track in left-center for a double. Bogaerts stumbled a bit on his way to second and came into the bag with a slight limp.

What Bogaerts did next was dumb, and if he tweaked something on the double, then his actions were downright moronic. Martinez grounded to shortstop. The ball had been hit to his right, but Bogaerts took off for third anyway ("a curious decision", wrote Ian Browne, trying to be as kind as possible). Segura easily threw him out.

Andrew Benintendi lined an 0-2 pitch slightly to the left of shortstop Segura, who had shifted over to the second baseman's usual spot. Segura gloved the ball and his throw to first nipped pinch-runner Chris Owings for a game-ending double play.

Tuesday's outcome hurt, because the Rays lost to the Mariners and the Mets beat Cleveland.

AL Wild Card: CLE/TBR –, OAK 1.0, BOS 6.0.
Aaron Nola / Brian Johnson
Betts, RF
Devers, 3B
Bogaerts, SS
Martinez, DH
Benintendi, LF
Vázquez, C
Moreland, 1B
Holt, 2B
Bradley, CF
Rafael Devers is the first player with 100+ RBI and 100+ runs in a season—before turning 23 years old—since Miguel Cabrera in 2005. The only other Red Sox player to accomplish the feat is Ted Williams (1939 & 1940). Devers is also the fourth-youngest player to reach 100 RBI faster than anyone else in a season, trailing only Joe DiMaggio (1937), Johnny Bench (1970), and Jose Canseco (1986).

On Sunday, the Red Sox trailed 6-0 and won 13-7. It was the first game in which the Red Sox were behind by six or more runs and ended up winning by six or more runs since September 11, 2007, when they trailed the Rays 8-1 and won 16-10.

In their last 10 games, 59 of Boston's 112 hits (52.7%) have gone for extra bases: 53 singles, 34 doubles, 5 triples, 20 home runs. The Red Sox have at least one extra-base hit in each of their
last 141 games, the fifth-longest streak since 1900. They trail the 2004-05 Red Sox (164 games), 1999-2000 Reds (161), 1995-96 Clevelands (161), and 2000-01 Reds (151).

There are only three American League players batting .300+, with a .900+ OPS and 25+ home runs, and they bat 2-3-4 in the Red Sox's lineup (Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts, J.D. Martinez). (Note: Mike Trout is batting .298.)

The Red Sox have five qualifying players with a .360+ OBP: Mookie Betts .390, Martinez .384, Bogaerts .384, Devers .380, and Andrew Benintendi .361. No other team has more than three.

Long story short, the hitting is not the problem.

AL Wild Card: CLE/TBR –, OAK 1.0, BOS 6.0.

August 19, 2019

Sources: Chris Sale Is Done For 2019, But Is Expected To Avoid TJ Surgery

Jeff Passan of ESPN reports that "sources familiar with the situation" say that Chris Sale will miss the remainder of the regular season, but is expected to avoid Tommy John surgery after meeting with Dr. James Andrews today.

Andrews confirmed the Red Sox's diagnosis of inflammation and will re-examine Sale in six weeks.

Following his most recent start six days ago, Sale felt soreness in his elbow and underwent an MRI. Initial readings showed changes from the MRI Sale had in the spring but weren't clear enough to determine whether there is damage to his ulnar collateral ligament. ...

Monday's news delivered a collective sigh of relief in Boston, although it will be clearer in October how Sale responds to the treatment of rest and PRP biologics. The plasma, taken from a person's blood and spun in a centrifuge to isolate growth-factor-heavy platelets, is used to promote healing. In a number of cases, including that of New York Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka, it has helped pitchers avoid elbow surgery.

August 18, 2019

Chris Sale (Left Elbow Inflammation) Will See Dr. Andrews On Monday

Chris Sale, on the injured list with left elbow inflammation, has an appointment with Dr. James Andrews on Monday. Red Sox head trainer Brad Pearson will accompany Sale.

Manager Alex Cora said Sale, who has not talked to the media since an MRI revealed the inflammation, is not hiding anything, and will be back with the Red Sox on Tuesday:
He just wants to make sure he has all the facts before he talks to you guys. He wants to see where we're at with it and all the opinions that he wants to get, and then he goes from there. It's not that he's hiding from you guys. He just wants to be straight up and have all the information when he talks to you guys, which I think is fair.
There is no doubt that this news - coupled with Sale's ineffectiveness and lower velocity this season - about Sale is disconcerting. Sale's ERA (4.40) this season is by far the worst of his career, by nearly one full run (3.41, in 2015).

Burning Question Of The Day: Should NESN hire a Bill Walton-type for Red Sox broadcasts?
(Note to Jason Benetti: How does any announcer not know the most strikeouts in an inning by a pitcher is four? (It's happened at least 88 times, including three times against the White Sox while Benetti has called their games: May 2016, May 2017, and April 2018!))
Startle Response Of The Day: What a waste of a good beer ... though the Reds have graciously offered to buy her a fresh pint.

G127: Red Sox 13, Orioles 7

Orioles - 321 000 001 -  7  9  1
Red Sox - 002 106 40x - 13 16  1
In 2018, if the Red Sox found themselves trailing by six runs in the third inning, you'd keep watching without a second thought because it seemed like they rallied from such deficiets and ending up winning the game more often than not. This season, sadly, is a much different story. ... But not always.

Alex Cora, interviewed by NESN in the dugout in the middle of the third, with the Orioles holding a 6-0 advantage, barked: "Let's go win this game. Let's go!" ... And he soon saw that it would be so.

Rafael Devers went 4-for-5, with two doubles, a home run, and four runs batted in as the Red Sox scored 13 straight runs and won their fifth straight game. Devers has 101 RBI, the only player in the majors with more than 100.

J.D. Martinez went 3-for-5, with two RBI, and Mitch Moreland, who did not enter the game until the sixth inning, went 3-for-3 and scored twice.

Nathan Eovaldi (2-3-5-3-1, 43) was ineffective, but the six relievers who followed him allowed only one earned run in seven innings.

Chris Owings walked to start the bottom of the third and Betts doubled him to third. Owing scored on Devers's groundout to second and Betts scored on Bogaerts tapper to the pitcher. Sam Travis crushed a pitch down the middle to dead center for a solo homer in the fourth.

The real fun began in the sixth. Martinez doubled to left and went to third on Andrew Benintendi's fly to center. Travis walked. Christian Vázquez doubled in one run and Moreland, batting for Sandy León, knocked in two with a popup single that fell in shallow left, tying the game. Owings went down on strikes, but Betts walked. Devers's 46th double of the season, giving Boston its first lead 7-6.

Orioles catcher Chance Sisco did not enjoy the inning at all. He had to leave the game after being drilled in the groin by a Xander Bogaerts foul ball. Sam Travis had plowed into him when he scored earlier in the inning.

Bogaerts singled Betts home and Martinez's infield single scored Devers, for a 9-6 Red Sox lead. Benintendi walked, but Travis was caught looking, leaving the bases loaded.

AL Wild Card: CLE/TBR –, OAK 1.0, BOS 6.5.

Also: Ya gotta love Puig!

Ty Blach / Nathan Eovaldi
Betts, CF
Devers, 3B
Bogaerts, SS
Martinez, RF
Benintendi, LF
Travis, DH
Vázquez, 1B
León, C
Owings, 2B
AL Wild Card: CLE/TBR –, OAK 0.5, BOS 6.5.

August 17, 2019

G126: Red Sox 4, Orioles 0

Orioles - 000 000 000 - 0  5  0
Red Sox - 000 020 20x - 4  7  0
Eduardo Rodriguez (7.1-4-0-2-4, 106) stepped up after the Red Sox put Chris Sale on the injured list with left elbow inflammation shortly before Saturday's game. The Red Sox won their fourth game in a row and remain 6.5 games behind the Rays for the second wild card spot.

Dave Dombrowski did not have (or provide) much information about Sale's condition. When asked about the extent of the injury, he said: "I cannot answer that, really. There's going to be further evaluations. ... We're in a situation where I don't really know where it's going to take us ..." He was asked if Sale will pitch again this season. "I don't know one way or another at this point ..."

Rodriguez was economical in the early innings, throwing seven pitches in the first and 11 in the second. He had a runner on third with one out in the sixth – right after the Red Sox had taken a 2-0 lead – but worked out of trouble with groundballs to shortstop and third.

Brock Holt had led off the fifth with his second home run of the season. Jackie Bradley tripled to right and scored on Asher Wojciechowski's (4.1-5-2-3-4, 98) wild pitch. The inning featured more baserunners, but no more runs: Mookie Betts walked and Xander Bogaerts singled with one out, but J.D. Martinez, facing reliever Miguel Castro, grounded into a 1-4-3 double play.

Paul Fry retired the first two Boston batters in the seventh before Betts doubled to left and Rafael Devers homered on an 0-2 pitch.

After Rodriguez gave up a single with one out in the seventh, Matt Barnes took over. He immediately increased the pressure by allowing an infield single and throwing a wild pitch, giving the Orioles men at second and third, with one out. Barnes rebounded, striking out Anthony Santander in a nine-pitch battle (bssfbfffs) and then getting Renato Nunez on strikes, with Christian Vázquez making the throw of a loose ball to first.

Brandon Workman pitched a clean ninth, with two strikeouts and a grounder to third. ... In the last two games, 14 of the Red Sox's 19 hits have been for extra bases.
Friday   – 12 hits: 3 singles, 9 extra-base hits (6 doubles, 2 triples, 1 home run)
Saturday –  7 hits: 2 singles, 5 extra-base hits (2 doubles, 1 triple, 2 home runs)

It's back!
AL Wild Card: CLE/TBR –, OAK 0.5, BOS 6.5.
Asher Wojciechowski / Eduardo Rodriguez
Betts, RF
Devers, 3B
Bogaerts, SS
Martinez, DH
Benintendi, LF
Vázquez, C
Moreland, 1B
Holt, 2B
Bradley, CF

August 16, 2019

G125: Red Sox 9, Orioles 1

Orioles - 001 000 000 - 1  5  0
Red Sox - 100 203 21x - 9 12  0
Rick Porcello (6-4-1-2-2, 84) saw only one swing and miss* among his 84 pitches on Friday evening, but he kept against the Orioles' hitters off-balance all night. Andrew Benintendi (3-for-4) doubled and tripled, scored two runs, and knocked in two. Of the Red Sox's 12 hits, nine went for extra-bases.

Boston led 1-0 after only seven pitches from Aaron Brooks (5.1-8-5-1-2, 91), who gave up a double to Mookie Betts and a single to Rafael Devers. Brooks then threw a wild pitch and walked Xander Bogaerts, but managed to escape further damage ... until the fourth, when J.D. Martinez doubled with one out. Benintendi followed with a triple to center and, with two down, Mitch Moreland tripled to right.

Chris Owings increased the Red Sox's lead to 5-1 when he drove in two runs with a pinch-hit double. Devers began the seventh with a walk against Tom Eshelman and Bogaerts doubled him to third. JDM's sac fly scored Devers and Benintendi's double scored X. Betts hit his 21st home run of the year in the eighth.

* Porcello's swing and miss came on a 2-1 pitch to Jace Peterson, leading off the second.

After Porcello, Josh Taylor pitched a clean seventh on 11 pitches. Travis Lakins stranded two runners in the eighth and struck out the side (all swinging) in the ninth.

Nathan Eovaldi in on track to start on Sunday, with a pitch limit of about 60. ... David Price (left wrist cyst) might throw a bullpen session early next week.

Back in December 2016, the White Sox were willing to trade Chris Sale to Boston, but they wanted Rafael Devers (then a teenager in High-A) as part of the package. Dave Dombrowski put his foot down. "At that point, we were prepared to walk away."
Aaron Brooks / Rick Porcello
Betts, RF
Devers, 3B
Bogaerts, SS
Martinez, DH
Benintendi, LF
Vázquez, C
Moreland, 1B
Hernández, 2B
Bradley, CF
Peter Abraham of the Globe reports that, in the last two games, Alex Cora has made 11 pitching changes over 13 innings. The bullpen's impressive stats: 9.2 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 10 K.

Rafael Devers has 43 doubles and Nicholas Castellanos of the Cubs has hit 44*. They are on pace to end the season with 57 and 59 two-baggers, respectively. There has not been a 60-double season in 83 years.

Players Hitting 60+ Doubles In A Season
67  -  Earl Webb          1931 Red Sox
64  -  Joe Medwick        1936 Cardinals
64  -  George Burns       1926 Indians
63  -  Hank Greenberg     1934 Tigers
62  -  Paul Waner         1932 Pirates
60  -  Charlie Gehringer  1936 Tigers
In 144 major league seasons, five of the six times a player hit 60+ doubles occurred within a span of only six years. ... For almost a half-century (1950-1999), no player hit as many as 55 doubles. ... In 2000, two players came close: Todd Helton had 59 and Carlos Delgado had 57.

No Red Sox hitter has ever come within 11 doubles of Webb's record! Rounding out the Red Sox Top Five: Nomar Garciaparra (56 in 2002), Dustin Pedroia (54 in 2008), Tris Speaker (53 in 1912), and David Ortiz (52 in 2007). Three Red Sox hit 51: Joe Cronin (1938), Wade Boggs (1989), and Garciaparra (2000).

*: Castellanos and Devers are 1-2 among major league leaders in doubles. Xander Bogaerts (40) is at #3 and Andrew Benintendi (36) is tied for #4.

August 15, 2019

Lake Elsinore (Adv. A) Scores 10 Runs With 2 Outs In Ninth And Wins 14-13 In Ten Innings

Lake Elsinore Storm - 1 1 0   0 0 0   1 0 10   1 - 14 16  2
Lancaster JetHawks  - 1 2 0   0 0 9   0 1  0   0 - 13 15  4
The Lancaster JetHawks, one out away from a 13-3 win over the Lake Elsinore Storm on Wednesday night, watched in horror as the Storm scored 10 runs with two outs in the top of the ninth. Eleven consecutive Lake Elsinore batters reached base - five singles, five walks, and one double (there was also a wild pitch and an infield error) - before the third out was recorded.

The Storm, the Advanced A affiliate of the Padres, took a one-run lead in the tenth, but barely escaped with a victory as Lancaster, the Rockies' affiliate, left the bases loaded in the bottom half.

Pitch-by-pitch of the ninth and tenth innings:

Austin Moore pitching for Lancaster (ahead 13-3).
Jalen Washington (fsbffbf) pops out to second.
Allen Cordoba (c) singles to center.
Cordoba to second on fielder indifference.
Xavier Edwards (c) flies out to left.
Luis Campusano (cbbbb) walks, Cordoba to third on wild pitch.
Gabriel Arias (fcfbfb) singles to left, Cordoba scores (4-13), Campusano to second.
Mound visit.
Eguy Rosario doubles to right, Campusano scores (5-13), Arias scores (6-13).
Tirso Ornelas (bbcbb) walks.
Mound visit. Robert Tyler relieves Moore.
Olivier Basabe (bbbb) walks, E. Rosario to third, Ornelas to second.
Jeisson Rosario (bcsbfbb) walks, E. Rosario scores, Ornelas to third, Basabe to second (7-13).
Washington (bbcbc) singles to left, Ornelas scores (8-13), Basabe scores (9-13), J. Rosario to second.
Mound visit. Tommy Doyle relieves Tyler.
Cordoba (cf) singles to shortstop, J. Rosario scores (10-13), Washington to second on shortstop's throwing error.
Edwards (bbbcffb) walks, Washington to third, Cordoba to second.
Campusano (bcbc) singles to center, Washington scores (11-13), Cordoba scores (12-13), Edwards to third.
Arias (cs) singles to center, Edwards scores (13-13), Campusano to second.
E. Rosario (bff) strikes out swinging.
Fred Schlichtholz pitching for Lake Elsinore (tied 13-13).
Jimmy Herron (bbbcb) walks.
Mound visit.
Luke Morgan (b) grounds into double play, shortstop unassisted to first.
Austin Bernard (f) lines out to third.
Nick Kennedy pitching for Lancaster (tied 13-13).
E. Rosario starts inning as runner on second.
E. Rosario to third on wild pitch.
Ornelas (fcbfbb) singles to right, E. Rosario scores (14-13).
Basabe grounds into double play, second to shortstop to first.
J. Rosario (bc) grounds out to third.
Schlichtholz pitching for Lake Elsinore (ahead 14-13).
Bernard starts inning as runner on second.
LeeMarcus Boyd (fc) strikes out swinging.
Matt Hearn (fbb) safe on fielder's choice, Boyd out pitcher to shortstop to third to second.
Ryan Vilade (btfftt) strikes out swinging, Vilade safe at first, Hearn to second on wild pitch.
Hearn steals third, Vilade steals second.
Luis Castro (bcbs) hit by pitch.
Casey Golden (bc) flies out to center.
It's horrible seeing that "starts inning at 2nd base" at the beginning of both the top and bottom of the tenth.