Royals Blow Out Sox, Win Series

August 29, 2016 at 1:03pm in Boston, Red Sox
John Farrell (GettyImages/BostonGlobe)

The Kansas City Royals came into Boston playing their best baseball of the season, this 3 game weekend series was a test for The Sox.  A test they would end up failing.

After the mostly successful road trip, (I say mostly because of the back to back losses to Tampa Bay), Red Sox nation was optimistic that this team has turned the corner.  They were coming home to face the hottest team in baseball in Kansas City, and The Royals proved why they should still be looked at as a threat in the American League.  Stephen Wright was terrible in his game 1 start, giving up 5 earned runs in the first inning.  Eduardo Rodriguez took a step back with his start yesterday, giving up 5 earned runs in 5 innings.  The best pitcher for The Sox over the weekend was David Price.  Price looked locked in on saturday, which is a good sign going forward.

The Bullpen once again looked over matched and really scared out there.  The Royals put the pressure on teams with their speed and ability to put the ball in play.  Matt Barnes had the worst night of his life on sunday night, he pitched 0.0 innings, and gave up 5 earned runs.  I really would’ve liked to see Papelbon on the mound.  It’s been said time and time again, this bullpen has to be much much better if this team is going to make a run in the postseason.

With a nine game west coast road trip on the horizon The Sox have to pile up as many home wins as they can. That continues tonight against Tampa Bay.  A series sweep is a must.

Tropicana Field (MLB Photo)

When ESPN mentioned that the Red Sox would be playing three baseball games in three nights in three different cities, I had to whip out a Red Sox schedule because I could not believe how MLB could pull that one off. Mostly, I felt for the Sox themselves and how they must have been feeling. As daunting as it seemed, the forecast only got worse as the Red Sox had to play a one o’ clock game in Detroit after a night game in Baltimore, leaving the Sox with four cities in six days.

The sweep preceding this awful road trip was a good morale boost for the streaky Sox, who were not having a great month up to that point. When the Diamondbacks came to town, I believed the Sox would take two out of three, but they played great and swept Arizona out of the stadium. The next night, in Cleveland, Drew Pomeranz (finally) pitched a gem, and gave the Red Sox their fourth win in a row, and his first in a Boston uniform. All was well so far, but the next two nights, the Orioles loomed large.

Continue reading Sox Go 5-2 On Most Recent Road Trip; 4 Game Set in Tampa Upcoming »

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Are The Sox Hitting Their Stride?

August 21, 2016 at 2:05pm in Boston, Red Sox
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The Boston Red Sox have won 9 of their last 12 games.  With 5 of those wins coming on the road against some of the American league’s best, Cleveland, Baltimore, and Detroit.  This, so far successful road trip is no fluke.  From pitching, to hitting, to defense this Red Sox team is hot right now.  I usually don’t like to compare teams, however, this team has a 2004 feel to it.  I know every Red Sox fan remembers that team, the camaraderie, the pitching towards the end of the season, and the most similarity between the two teams is how each team played, and has played towards the end of the season.

Over this road trip, The Sox starters have a combined ERA of 1.51.  It doesn’t matter who’s on the mound right now, from Price, Porcello, Pomeranz, and even Clay Buchholz, they are all producing.  Most impressive all the starters are able lately to go deeper in the game, which really helps with a bullpen as putrid as The Sox pen.  With these being the dog days of summer and another long road trip on the horizon, The starters have to continue to dominate the way they have been.

The offense hasn’t been too shabby over this stretch.  Betts and Ortiz have been hot of late, and with constant contributing from Sandy Leon, Dustin Pedroia, and Hanley Ramirez this offense isn’t showing any signs of slowing up.  It would be nice to see Xander get going, his last two games he has had two hit in each game, which is a good sign.  As well as the starters have been pitching they could go south very fast, and if or when that happens it will be up to the offense to carry the load.

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Sox Cruise to 6th straight Win

August 18, 2016 at 12:42pm in Boston, Red Sox, Top Story

bettsAfter last night’s 8-1 win over the Orioles, the Red Sox seem to be on fire. This was their 6th straight win and they have now moved into the top spot in the wildcard. They are now only one game behind Toronto for first place in the division. One of the many reasons the Sox are playing so well is star outfielder, Mookie Betts.  Betts is playing unbelievable right now and definitely should be in discussion for MVP right now. Since August, he has batted .403, with seven homeruns and 20 RBI’s. He had a three home-run game against Arizona on the 14th and a two home-run game against the Orioles on the 16th. The three home-run game was Bett’s second time doing that this season and the first time a Red Sox player has done that since the great Ted Williams. I know that Jose Altuve is having an amazing year, batting .364 for the Astros, but if the Sox make the playoffs and the Astro’s don’t than Betts should hands down get the MVP.

The Red Sox starting pitching has also been a big factor why they have won 6th straight games. In the past seven days the Sox starting pitching has only let up a total of eleven runs. Rick Porcello picked up his 16th win on Sunday, and all season long has given the Sox a pitcher they can rely on. If Porcello keeps pitching as well as he has, he will definitely be in the discussion for Cy young. Rodriguez has also been a nice surprise lately. In the month of August he has an ERA of 2.08. It really seems like he is turning around his season. Unfortunately, on Tuesday, while pitching a no hitter through four innings he had to come out of the game due to injury. Hopefully, this is just something minor and continues to pitch well for the rest of the season.

The Sox have 43 games left and a three game lead in the Wild card standings so as of right now they are in a good position to make the playoffs. I believe that they will and if they don’t I will consider this season a disappointment. Go sox!

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Sox Drop Series To Yankees

August 12, 2016 at 1:22pm in Boston, Red Sox
Farrell's days could be numbered if The Sox don;t turn this around.

Are you kidding me?  This past Yankees/Sox series might have been the most frustrating regular season Red Sox series EVER.  This team has a real problem finishing games, and that will ultimately be the reason this team doesn’t make a deep playoff run.  If they even make the playoffs.  As of now, yes they are a playoff team.  However, do they really look like a playoff team?  The obvious answer is no.

The Red Sox should have won this series pretty easily, but now?  The Yankees are only 3 games back of The Sox in the standings.  The Yankees are not a good team.  They unloaded at the trade deadline by trading, Andrew Miller, Aroldis Chapman, and Carlos Beltran.  New York pretty much waved the white flag at the deadline, and now they have hope.  I’m not saying The Yankees are a threat in the division or the wild card.  The point is these are the games you have to win when you’re fighting for a playoff spot.

The Red Sox had a lead going into the 7th inning in all 3 games of the series.  They lost two of those games.  The one game they did win, they walked the bases loaded in the ninth.  This Red Sox bullpen is putrid.  It seems like they can’t get anyone out, especially when there are guys on base.  It seems like this pitching staff has no guts.  They can’t get the big strikeout when the pressures on, it seems like they get tight and timid.

This series wasn’t all the pitching staffs fault.  What happen to the offense?  Just about a month ago they were crushing the baseball.  Now?  They have 2 hits in their last 29 attempts with the bases loaded.  This offense is much to talented to go into slumps like this.  Speaking of slumps, why does it seem the whole team goes in one giant slump at the same time?  It seems like this team is lacking confidence right now.  They could really use a benches clearing brawl to wake them up, or you know they could fire the manager.

They start a 3 game series with Arizona tonight, it’s safe to say sweeping The Diamondbacks is a must.  Especially with the tough road games on the horizon.

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Benintendi collected his first MLB hit in Seattle. Photo: Joe Nicholson, USA Today Sports

Nothing comes easy for the 2016 Boston Red Sox, as David O’Brien et al remind us on a near-nightly basis. After a dismal road-trip, the Red Sox failed to improve on their record in a series against the Yankees, and now sit at only nine games above .500.

The playoff picture in the East is tight as it will ever be, with the Sox three games behind the Jays, and 2.5 behind the Orioles. At the moment, the Red Sox hold a .5 game lead over the Tigers for the second spot in the race for the second wild card berth. A poor series against a .500 team was the last thing David Ortiz and Co. needed, but regardless, it is what they got.

With a team as streaky as this, it’s feasible to consider the possibility that they might go on another tear, and finish the season with breathing room in any playoff race. However, sports in the Boston media remain ever-reactionary, and the flavor of the past ten games has been doom. It is always difficult to remain positive, after the stretch the Sox have most recently suffered through.

One of the bright spots on the team has been newcomer Andrew Benintendi. Unfortunately, the key word in the sentence prior is “newcomer”. All rookies are bound to make mistakes, or have a “welcome to the League” moment. Benintendi’s simply came during a crucial moment in the game.

For those watching, it was next to unbelievable. A seemingly playable, albeit sharply, hit ball by Jacoby Ellsbury quickly made it’s way into left field, prompting a quick response by Benintendi. The ball went mere centimeters over the 22 year old, and Ellsbury was safely aboard with a double, driving in two. Those two runs proved insurmountable in the eighth and the ninth for the Sox, who once again left the field with a heartbreaking loss.

Heartbreaking losses are acceptable in a season of 162 games, but at the rate they are coming lately to this team, one has to wonder if this is truly a team built for postseason success. All outside factors point to yes, with phenoms X, Betts, JBJ, and now Benintendi-but close games, especially during the postseason-are must-wins.

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Benintendi collected his first MLB hit in Seattle. Photo: Joe Nicholson, USA Today Sports

If anyone from New England stayed up till one in the morning to watch the Red Sox lose six out of eleven games on the West Coast, then…sorry. However, you were not alone, and you were also not alone if you felt frustration and anxiety as the Sox quietly ducked out of a playoff spot for the first time since April.

Now that all is said and done, the Red Sox sit three games out of first place in the AL East and a half game behind the Deroit Tigers for the second wild-card spot.

Opposite-coast games are tough for any team, but when you pair the exhaustion of eleven games in eleven nights-after a six hour flight from Boston, in which three different ballparks were visited-and, incredibly, the fact that the Sox have had to endure 43 games in 44 days-their toil is understandable.

The one off-day the Red Sox get in the midst of their mind-bending stretch comes today-and they get to relax on yet another long flight, this time back to Boston to take on the Yankees the next night. The six-game homestand is much needed, as the Sox will soon be on the road again for another 11 games, in four cities.

A few months ago, the entire city of Boston seemed confident in the Red Sox and their playoff chances. Now, with a little less than two months to go, hope is dwindling. If the Red Sox can manage to take four or five of six from the Yankees and Dbacks-a highly achievable goal, temperaments will improve, but the outlook after their next eleven game set on the road remains to be seen.

A few more thoughts…1. Why can David Price not get to ten wins? Who pitches for the Sox in a one-game playoff? 2. A-Rod finally stepping away from the diamond. One more series at Fenway? 3. ESPN can’t help but make sure that JBJ is always in the headlines as a trade candidate in the offseason. 4. Benintendi worth the wait so far.

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