Mookie Betts (Jim Davis/Boston Globe)

In the months of June, the Red Sox went an awful 10-16. During that span, the Orioles have opened a 5.5 game lead over the once first place Boston Red Sox, and the Blue Jays have suddenly found an identity (and are currently tied with the Sox for second place). Obviously, this does not bode well for Boston, and the excitement at the beginning of the season is now slowly being replaced with a feeling of dread.

One bit of good news for the Red Sox is that they are tied for first place in the AL Wild Card race. The Royals and Astros are both only a half game behind, however.

Looking ahead to July, the Sox will kick off the month by taking on the Angels in Boston for a three game set, followed by a four game series against the Rangers. The Red Sox will look to build momentum against a sinking Los Angeles team before doing battle against Texas.

At the moment, the LA Angels sit at 32-47, and are in last place in the AL West. This is a series the Red Sox will be looking to sweep, and hopefully gain some ground on both the Wild Card race and the AL East race.

To finish out the month, the Red Sox will play Tampa Bay (at home, 3 games), the Yankees (away, 3 games), San Francisco (home, 2 games), Minnesota (home, 4 games), Detroit (home, 3 games) and the Angels again (away, 4 games).

The Red Sox will willingly accept a seemingly easier month, as they play four teams that currently sit at .500 or below.

Dave Dombrowski is expected to be active at the trade deadline, and will hopefully acquire starting pitching that will propel the Red Sox to the postseason, one way or another. Price, who has had nothing short of a roller-coaster of a season thus far, has stated to the media that he knows he can play at a higher level, and most expect him to rebound in a good way in the second half of the season.

If the Red Sox can figure out starting pitching, and can come away with a good record in the month of July, they should once again find themselves near the top of their division. Keep in mind that the Red Sox still lead the majors in runs scored (434), batting average (.286), and on-base percentage (.354). They also have several players who are leading in All-Star polling at their respective positions (Ortiz, Bogaerts, JBJ, and Betts). This team can rebound, and quickly. It is not yet time to panic in Boston, but it is a good time to remember how long the Major League Baseball season is.

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Clay Buchholz (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The Red Sox desperately needed a solid start from Clay Buchholz on Sunday; they did not get one. Sunday’s 6-2 loss can be attributed to a lack of timely hitting backed up by completely subpar pitching. It might be easy to say that it’s not surprising that Buchholz struggled against a Rangers team with the best record in the American League, especially with how Buchholz’s season has gone this year. But John Farrell used his faith in Buchholz to justify not bringing up a reliever from Pawtucket a night after Steven Wright did not make it out of the fifth inning, and two nights after David Price didn’t make it out of the third. Most Red Sox fans already knew that faith was misguided, and were not surprised when Buchholz allowed the first six batters he faced to reach base, putting giving the Rangers an immediate lead they would not give up. Buchholz also walked more batters (5) than he struck out (3), further illustrating why he was demoted to the bullpen earlier in the season. Sadly the Red Sox find themselves thin on options as far as starting pitching is concerned, but there really is no reason to send Buchholz back out for another start. He has had more than his fair share of chances in Boston, and he has proven that the only thing he can be counted on to do is under-perform.

A few more notes from Sunday’s game:

  • Bryce Brentz went 2-for-3 with a solo homer, the first of his Major League career. It will be interesting to see if the Red Sox try to get Brentz some playing time in Left Field going forward, as his bat could be starting to heat up. His main competition in Left, Ryan LaMarre, has done absolutely nothing with the bat since coming up from Pawtucket, so there should be plenty of playing time available for whoever is performing at the moment.

Continue reading Buchholz Struggles, Bats Fail Red Sox In Texas Finale »

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Castillo has been placed on waivers. Photo: Michael Dwyer (AP)

Back in 2014, when the Red Sox signed Cuban native Rusney Castillo to a 7-year, $72.5 million contract, it finally felt like Boston had won something. 2014 was a year many Sox fans would like to forget, but Castillo was something of a bright spot. Castillo joined the big leagues late in the season, played in 10 games, bashed three home runs, and gave the Red Sox faithful something to dream about in 2015.

When Castillo finally got to play on a more regular basis, the general consensus was that perhaps the outfielder probably needed more time to acclimate to the league. Major League Baseball is a far cry from Triple-A ball, and with a .253 average, he was sent back down to Pawtucket for a little more seasoning. This season, after losing steam in the minors, Rusney continued to disappoint on the Pawsox, batting .245. This major, almost startling, lack of prowess, finally caused the Red Sox to place the outfielder-whom some predicted would be a top 40 player this year-on outright waivers.

It is at this point extremely unlikely that any team would pick up Castillo, due to his hefty contract and lack of serious production.

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Jim Davis/Boston Globe

Throughout the season, the Red Sox have been very inconsistent with the catching and left field positions. In the beginning of the season, Blake Swihart was the starting catcher. Not too long after that he started to lose time to Ryan Hanigan and Christian Vazquez. Soon after Vazquez was thrown into the mix, Swihart was not seen again at the catching position and was dropped down to the AAA Pawtucket Red Sox.

For the majority of the season, Vazquez has been the everyday catcher with Hanigan catching a game or two here and there. But on June 5th Hanigan suffered a neck strain and was put on the 15 day DL. So most recently we have seen Vazquez sharing time at catcher with Sandy Leon, who is batting 10 for 16 (.625) on the season. Vazquez has seen significantly more time than any other catcher the Sox have had this year, but I question this. Christian is batting only .221 this year but is a pretty good defensive catcher with a strong arm. I just question why with a guy like Leon who has been hitting very well when he gets in, doesn’t see a little more playing time. I understand he’s only had 16 at bats, but when a guy is that hot coming into his first at bats of the season, you usually keep him in and see what he can do.

The biggest question the Sox face is who is going to be their left fielder. I feel like every time I watch them there’s someone different in left. The Sox started the season with Brock Holt as their starting left fielder. He played pretty much every day in left and performing at an average rate. But when he suffered a concussion on May 20th, he was put on the DL and hasn’t returned since. Holt is recovering from a concussion slower than normally but concussions are taken much more seriously now a days since we know so much more about the dangers of them. Holt is currently rehabbing with the Paw Sox and he is batting 3 for 6, with two doubles in two games. His return date to the Red Sox is uncertain but I can imagine when he get’s back he will be thrown right back into the lineup to see how he performs.

Meanwhile, when Holt was gone, left field saw action from mainly two different players; Chris Young and Blake Swihart. When Swihart was sent down to the minors, he decided that his best chance at playing for the Red Sox would be to switch to outfield and compete for the left field spot. Being the athletic and quick player he is, he transformed himself into a surprisingly well outfielder. Him and Chris Young would split time with each other in left. But Swihart was placed n the 15 day DL when he severely sprained his ankle running into a wall. So this leaves Chris Young alone, who has been playing left almost every day for the Sox and performing fairly well. He is batting .282 on the season and has had some big hits for the Sox this season. He has turned himself into a guy that we could see as an everyday player in the outfield.

But the thing is, when Holt finally comes back the Sox are going to put him back in left to compete with Young. Which is fair because he lost his starting spot due to injury. However it is not a given that Brock will just get his starting spot back because he was only batting .239 at the time of his injury, so it’s going to be a battle between the two. And when Swihart returns from his injury, who knows what’s going to happen because he was also hitting and playing fairly well in left.

Now the problem I have with all of this is that many teams don’t play well when there’s constant changes to the starting lineup. Most teams have the same guys at the same positions for the majority of the games. The Red Sox seem to have a different lineup every night. Whether its the catcher, the left fielder, the second baseman, or Ortiz has a day off; its always different. Having too many changes to a lineup too often can screw up the flow or momentum of a team. I blame a good amount of losses to this problem. John Farrell has made many Sox fans angry this year with his questionable choices in just about any decision he makes. As the season goes on, Farrell needs to make up his mind of who his every day players are because playing musical chairs with these guys all year just isn’t going to work.

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With Friday’s night loss following a series loss to Baltimore it looked like things were getting gloomy in Red Sox nation.  However I feel like this team never feels like they are trending in the wrong direction, they are always looking forward thinking they can and will win the next one.

Rick Porcello pitched what I think was his best game of the season on saturday night, heck it might have been the best game he has pitched in his short Red Sox career. He had good movement on all of his pitches, and continuously got guys to hit weak fly balls.  Porcello really stopped the bleeding, yes he gave up 2 runs in the first 2 innings, however 2 runs is a good number to give up with this Red Sox offense.  It was really Porcello and the killer B’s (Betts,Bogaerts,Bradley) that won saturdays game for The Sox.

David Price was DOMINANT today, only gave up 1 run and pitched into the 8th inning for his third straight game.  I was iffy on Price towards the beginning of the season, but right now he is locked in.  However as dominant as Price has been lately, he hasn’t got much run support.  Today was also a tough day for the offense, until the bottom of the seventh when Mookie homered over the monster.  I really don’t understand why opposing pitchers try to sneak inside fastballs past Mookie.

Today was a big series win for The Sox, however for it to be a successful homestand they need to win the series against the White Sox.

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Ramirez misses 24% of pitches he swings at. Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Last summer, more than a few Red Sox fans were more worried about Hanley Ramirez’s lackluster season in left field than they were about his mediocre season at the plate. This year, Hanley looks as though he was born to play first base, relieving pressure that surrounded that decision at the end of spring training.

However, Ramirez is beginning to worry casual fans and fanatics alike due to his hitting woes. Multiple articles have been published highlighting his struggles, including one from Matt Collins from Over the Monster, who writes: “The defense has been great, but it doesn’t mean a ton if the offense continues to struggle like this…we may be seeing a new Hanley Ramirez, and it’s not one any of us wanted to see”.

Alex Speier of the Boston Globe reported on the seventh, three figures that may be the main factors behind Ramirez’s “decline”. As he puts it: “His 52.5 percent ground-ball rate represents a career worst. He’s striking out more than ever (20.7 percent), and when he does take the bat off his shoulder, he’s swinging and missing 24 percent of the time — a drastic increase for a player who has never had a rate in excess of 19 percent”.

Certainly, Hanley has no room to breathe in Boston, and if he wishes to win the affection of the media circus that surrounds his baseball team, then the production has to increase quickly. Ramirez did smash a home run against the Orioles this past week, snapping a long ball drought that was well over a month long, and upping his total to five on the season.

If hearing that Hanley Ramirez only has five home runs at this point in the year didn’t make you cringe a little, then I’m not sure what will.


(Photo/Elise Amendola)

In the bottom of the fourth inning in a match up against the Seattle Mariners Friday night, David Ortiz hit a home run to deep center field, the 521st of his career. This ties Ted Williams on the all time home run list.

This was Ortiz’s 463rd home run with the Red Sox. His 18th home run this season, tied for fifth in the MLB. Ortiz ended Friday night with an OPS of 1.147, the highest in the majors. The next highest OPS is Daniel Murphy at .994. The 40 year old is one of the best hitters in the league this year.

David tying Ted Williams’ home run record is a historical stat as Ted was one of the best Red Sox players of all time. Ortiz will certainly pass Ted on the home run list as more home runs are certainly to come this season.

Milestones like this make you look back on Ortiz’s career and really think about the legacy he will leave when he retires from the game at the end of this season.

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