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Home » Monthly Archive » June 2014

June 30, 2014

All Betts Are In

Mookie Betts made his much-anticipated major league debut Sunday night. Like this team’s performance Betts’s first game was a mixed bag. He grounded into a double play in his first at bat. The second-inning twin killing ended a scoring opportunity.

In the fourth inning Betts singled up the middle with two out. But again he ended the inning. This time he was caught stealing by Brian McCann and Derek Jeter. The team made sure to retrieve the ball he sent to Jacoby Ellsbury as a souvenir.

Betts led the sixth off with a base on balls. He made reliever David Huff throw nine pitches in the effort. Huff ended up loading the bases, which prompted Joe Girardi to call Dellin Betances to the mound. Dustin Pedroia’s sacrifice fly to center field plated Betts, giving the rookie his first major league run.

Betts isn’t quite yet accustomed to the outfield. He sold out on Ichiro Suzuki’s line drive to right field in the fifth, resulting in a triple.

Jackie Bradley, Jr. showed Betts how it was done in the bottom of the sixth. Carlos Beltran, who looks like he is getting dieting tips from Bartolo Colon, tried to score on Kelly Johnson’s gutshot single. Perhaps he thinks Ellsbury’s arm is representative of most center fielders’ strength. Bradley showed Beltran he is not most center fielders.

The Red Sox scored a seemingly comfortable number of runs, many of them coming from David Ortiz’s third inning three-run moonshot. But in Nouveau Stade Fascite no lead is safe. The Boston squad escaped the Bronx with a series win and a slight hope that they can compete in the AL East.

Game 82: June 29, 2014
WinBoston Red Sox
8 W: John Lackey (9-5)
H: Burke Badenhop (5), Andrew Miller (9), Junichi Tazawa (8)
S: Koji Uehara (18)
2B: Mike Napoli (12)
HR: David Ortiz (19)
New York Yankees
5 L: Chase Whitley (3-2)
2B: Brett Gardner (11)
3B: Ichiro Suzuki (1)
HR: Mark Teixeira (15), Carlos Beltran (8)

June 29, 2014

Miked Up

Jon Lester had a no-hitter going into the sixth inning. Brett Gardner broke it up with a single up the middle. David Ross eliminated Gardner from the basepaths with a perfect throw to Stephen Drew.

It was the least the Red Sox defense could do for Lester. In the third inning Stephen Drew allowed Brian Roberts to reach on a failed fielding attempt. Roberts advanced to second base when Lester hit Yangervis Solarte with a pitch and then to third on Gardner’s sacrifice bunt. Derek Jeter somehow didn’t get one of his trademark cheap hits but still grounded out to plate Roberts to tie the game 1-1.

While we are all thankful that Tim McCarver no longer does games on Fox, in his stead we have Harold Reynolds suggesting that reaching on errors should contribute to on-base percentage. He made the argument that Ted Williams would have tried harder if this were the case.

Williams is the career leader in on-base percentage.

Ross and Mike Napoli, a catcher and a former catcher, both homered to give the visitors the one-run victory. The battery mates didn’t want to see Lester’s masterful outing go to waste.

Napoli’s sympathy for the pitcher didn’t extend to the Yankees’ starter, however. “What an idiot!” he exclaimed as he returned to the dugout. Masahiro Tanaka shook off Brian McCann twice before sending a fastball over the plate.

What’s the Japanese equivalent of meatball? Tsukune, a Japanese chicken meatball, seems like it would do the trick.

Game 81: June 28, 2014
WinBoston Red Sox
2 W: Jon Lester (9-7)
S: Koji Uehara (17)
2B: David Ortiz (11), Brock Holt (15)
HR: David Ross (4), Mike Napoli (10)
New York Yankees
1 L: Masahiro Tanaka (11-3)
No extra base hits

June 28, 2014

Brocking Out

Brock Holt robbed Brian Roberts of a home run in the second inning. It’s hard to believe Holt doesn’t have much experience in the outfield. He plays it like a natural. Holt should get his agent on the horn with Sony. He made that outstanding grab right in front of the electronics giant’s sign.

Holt outran Jackie Bradley, Jr. in an impressive fashion and Dustin Pedroia in an expected manner in the eighth inning to snare Carlos Beltran’s fly ball to shallow right-center field for a remarkable put-out.

I mention Holt’s defensive prowess because happenings on the other side of the ball are hardly worth mentioning. The Red Sox cobbled together three hits off Vidal Nuno, he of the 5.29 FIP and a uniform number over 50.

But sometimes it’s exciting when a rookie dons a high-numbered jersey. Today the Red Sox called up Mookie Betts, who will be wearing 50. Rubby De La Rosa was sent back to Pawtucket to make room for Betts.

Game 80: June 27, 2014
Boston Red Sox
0 L: Brandon Workman (1-1)
2B: Brock Holt (14), Stephen Drew (3)
WinNew York Yankees
6 W: Vidal Nuno (2-4)
2B: Jacoby Ellsbury (17)
HR: Kelly Johnson (5), Brett Gardner (7), Brian McCann (9)

June 27, 2014

Buchholz Back

Clay Buchholz started his first game since May 26, 2014. In that game he walked eight batters, gave up six earned runs, and left the game with just three innings under his belt. The Red Sox prevailed in that game and broke their 10-game losing streak. This time around Buchholz didn’t allow any bases on balls but surrendered three home runs. Boston’s batters bailed out Buchholz, avoiding a sweep by the Mariners.

Daniel Nava saved a base hit in the fourth. Kyle Seager sent a sinking liner to right the Nava initially caught but lost in the slide. Seager thought he could capitalize on Nava’s drop but got too greedy by sprinting to second after he had slowed on his turn around first. Nava threw from his butt to Stephen Drew in time to tag out Seager.

On the offensive side Nava went 3-for-4. In the third inning his gutshot single plated Jackie Bradley, Jr. to tie the game 3-3.

David Ortiz added to his legend by telling a group of kids being shepherded by Mike Carp that he would hit a home run. Sure enough Ortiz homered in the first inning. He singled in the go-ahead run in the third inning. Even when making outs Ortiz scored. The 6-3 double play he grounded into in the fifth inning generated a much-needed insurance run.

Beer box hats have really advanced since Jonathan Papelbon donned one in 2007.

Game 79: June 25, 2014
WinBoston Red Sox
5 W: Clay Buchholz (3-4)
H: Andrew Miller (8)
S: Koji Uehara (16)
2B: Jackie Bradley Jr. (14)
HR: David Ortiz (18)
Seattle Mariners
4 L: Hisashi Iwakuma (5-4)
HR: Kyle Seager (12), Mike Zunino (11), Brad Miller (7)

June 25, 2014

Holt of Lightning

At the midpoint of the season it is now time to realize that this version of the Red Sox will not be repeating as World Champions. In losses such as this one a way to enjoy the game is to focus on individual performances. In the second inning Brock Holt lined out to Dustin Ackley to end the frame, stranding Jackie Bradley, Jr. Holt returned the favor in the home half of the inning.

Ackley almost made an outstanding grab of Mike Napoli’s slicing line drive in the third inning. The initial angles of the play didn’t show how the ball slipped from his glove. At last a camera from the right field showed that Ackley never had control of the ball.

In fact, the left fielder sprung up quickly, threw to the infield, and pointed at second base. Robinson Cano waited a long time after he got the ball from Ackley to step on second. I like to think if it were Dustin Pedroia in that situation he’d step on the sack and try to get the other runner either by throwing or initiating a rundown.

If the Red Sox followed the Maddon Doctrine David Ortiz might have been safe at third and Napoli standing at the keystone sack. Instead, Ortiz was placed at second and Napoli was awarded a single.

No word yet on whether Ortiz will harangue the official scorer for a stolen base on the play. He did extract a single out of Bob Ellis, the official scorer responsible for the June 18 game against the Twins. The incident reminds me of Ortiz’s actions in 2011 when he crashed Terry Francona’s press conference to complain about not getting a hit. We all remember how that season ended. How will this season play out?

Game 78: June 24, 2014
Boston Red Sox
2 L: Jake Peavy (1-6)
2B: Brock Holt (13)
HR: Holt (2)
WinSeattle Mariners
8 W: Joe Beimel (2-1)
2B: Kyle Seager (19), James Jones (6), Mike Zunino (13)
3B: Endy Chavez (2)
HR: Seager (11), Mike Zunino (10)

June 24, 2014

King’s Support

Seattle is 11th in the American League in runs scored but you couldn’t tell that last from last night’s offensive outburst. In Felix Hernandez’s previous two starts he lost because his team could only score a single run. All Hernandez needed was Logan Morrison’s bat; the first baseman singled in Kyle Seager and jolted two home runs, a solo shot and a two-run homer. But the Cy Young starter enjoyed a cavalcade of runs while limiting the Red Sox to two runs.

These fans are holding up cards to represent Hernandez’s 1,831 career strikeouts.

Mike Napoli homered off Hernandez in the fourth inning. Yet another MLB player, Dustin Ackley, attempted to replicate Napoli’s beard. A pale imitation at best.

Game 77: June 23, 2014
Boston Red Sox
3 L: John Lackey (8-5)
2B: Mike Napoli (11)
HR: Napoli (9)
WinSeattle Mariners
12 W: Felix Hernandez (9-2)
2B: Robinson Cano (17), Kyle Seager (18), James Jones (6), Mike Zunino (13)
3B: Endy Chavez (1)
HR: Logan Morrison – 2 (4)

June 23, 2014

Abad Ending

Coco Crisp was immortalized as a garden gnome.

Mike Napoli entered the history books as the first Red Sox player since 1967 to steal home and homer in a game. Rico Petrocelli did the same on September 9 against the Yankees.

Koji Uehara showed that he was a mere mortal by blowing a save. The ninth frame started off uneventfully with Alberto Callaspo’s ground out to first. Stephen Vogt somehow deciphered Uehara’s splitter and clouted his second home of the season to bring his team within a run. Uehara handled Nick Punto in two pitches; the infielder popped out to Jonathan Herrera.

Bob Melvin sent in John Jaso to hit for Craig Gentry. Jason evened the score 6-6 with a blast into the stairs in right field. Prior to this game Uehara had surrendered three home runs in 33 games.

David Ortiz is used to saving closers. He used to do that for Jonathan Papelbon all the time. The Red Sox designated hitter lined a homer over the center field fences. Fernando Abad must have been wondering why Melvin had him pitch to a slugger known for clutch hits.

The Athletics lost their designated hitter when Herrera’s backswing knocked Derek Norris out of the game in the tenth. It was good to see Herrera’s bat put to some use.

John Farrell brought Uehara back out for the tenth even though he had to oppose the teeth of the Athletics’ lineup. The closer recovered from his blown save to induce a pop out off Yoenis Cespedes’s bat and strike out Josh Donaldson. Sean Doolittle made his major league hitting debut and was able to make contact. Fortunately for Uehara and the Red Sox that contact was a light tapper to Dustin Pedroia.

Game 76: June 22, 2014 ∙ 10 innings
WinBoston Red Sox
7 H: Andrew Miller (7)
BS, W: Koji Uehara (1, 3-1)
HR: David Ross (3), Mike Napoli (8), David Ortiz (17)
Oakland Athletics
6 L: Fernando Abad (2-3)
2B: Alberto Callaspo (9)
HR: Stephen Vogt (2), John Jaso (7)

June 22, 2014

Last Minute

Dennis Eckersley’s doppelgänger snatched victory from the other mascots in a last-minute win. Surely that had nothing to do with Eckersley throwing out the ceremonial first pitch. I just noticed that the mascots have mesh-like material in the neck to see through. If they push their face out far enough it looks like the mascot’s Adam’s apple.

For the second game in the row the Red Sox were unable to notch any extra base hits. Eckersley not-so-quietly lost his mind as Boston squandered opportunities with runners on base. They were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position and wasted Rubby De La Rosa’s seven-inning gem. The starter’s line of four hits, one earned run, one walk, and seven strikeouts was enough to tally a win with a functional offense.

Edward Mujica took the mound in the tenth and allowed a leadoff walk to Alberto Callaspo. Nick Punto bunted Callaspo over and John Farrell replaced Mujica with Koji Uehara. The closer uncharacteristically gave up a hit to the outfield. Even Brock Holt couldn’t get to Coco Crisp’s liner in time to hose Callaspo at home.

Jesse Chavez had a no-hitter until Holt singled to lead off the sixth frame. Holt also made a dazzling grab of Callaspo’s sinking liner in the third inning. Stephen Vogt, the Athletics’ version of Holt, scored on the play.

Game 75: June 21, 2014 ∙ 10 innings
Boston Red Sox
1 L: Edward Mujica (2-3)
No extra base hits
WinOakland Athletics
2 BS: Luke Gregerson (6)
W: Dan Otero (6-1)
3B: Stephen Vogt (1)

Hopping Mad

Dustin Pedroia’s expression summarized how Red Sox fan feel. The visiting team went 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position and couldn’t knock in any extra base hits off of Brad Mills (no relation to Cleveland’s assistant manager), Jim Johnson, Ryan Cook, Fernando Abad, or Sean Doolittle.

It’s enough to make you hit yourself in the face. Or if you are a baseball player, hit yourself in the face with your own foul ball.

Burke Badenhop was hopping mad.

If the Red Sox don’t make the playoffs the Oakland Athletics seem to be a likable enough squad to temporarily support. They have many former Red Sox players and beards.

Their fans imitate Doolittle’s quirky set position. Those amusing Doolilliputians.

Game 74: June 20, 2014
Boston Red Sox
3 L: Andrew Miller (2-5)
No extra base hits
WinOakland Athletics
4 W: Fernando Abad (2-2)
S: Sean Doolittle (10)
HR: Josh Donaldson (18)

June 20, 2014

Big Time

Forget being enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Dennis Eckersley is represented in a mascot race. That is baseball immortality. Not only is Eckersley’s inspiring come-from-behind win chronicled in the video below but also Don Orsillo and Eckersley’s awkward white man high five is captured for posterity.

And unlike the Red Sox, Eck won!

In real life Rickey Henderson would win that race with one leg. Next season they should add Charlie O. Finley chasing after Rollie Fingers with a price gun.

The Hall of Fame mascots watched on as Dustin Pedroia homered in the sixth inning. He drove in Brock Holt, who singled with one out in the inning. The Red Sox scored only two runs off the formidable Oakland pitching staff.

The Oakland Athletics have scored 377 runs and allowed 243 runs. Their Pythagorean W-L record of 50-23 is ahead of their actual record of 45-28, but even with the shortfall they lead the American League. The Los Angeles Angels have rebounded from their slow start to keep pace in the Wild Card race with Detroit and New York. Across San Francisco Bay the Giants lead their division with the Dodgers close behind. We might be looking at an all-Golden State World Series in October.

Game 73: June 19, 2014
Boston Red Sox
2 L: Jake Peavy (1-5)
2B: Jackie Bradley Jr. (13), Dustin Pedroia (23)
HR: Pedroia (4)
WinOakland Athletics
4 W: Scott Kazmir (9-2)
H: Luke Gregerson (11)
S: Dan Otero (1)
2B: Jed Lowrie (18)
HR: Yoenis Cespedes (14)

June 18, 2014


I think the Twins and Red Sox batters are solar-powered with a 10-inning charging cycle. They may be able to spray a few doubles here and there before being fully energized as displayed by Daniel Nava’s ground-rule double in the fifth, but it wasn’t until extra innings that any runs scored.

The Red Sox pitching and defense kept their team in the game. John Lackey pitched nine innings with a sparkling line: 3 hits, 1 walk, and 9 strikeouts. For just the second time this season Koji Uehara surrendered a home run.

Danny Santana’s bunt attempt was foiled by Dustin Pedroia’s quick glove and flip in the sixth inning.

Pedroia was on the receiving end of Nava’s eighth inning assist that erased Eduardo Escobar from the basepaths.

Chris Parmelee’s go-ahead home run barely cleared the bullpen wall. Even Brock Holt couldn’t catch it before it landed in the Red Sox bullpen.

I wonder if Shane Victorino or Grady Sizemore could have gloved it? Victorino’s return may be the offensive shot in the arm Boston needs. Sizemore proved he wasn’t the cure and was designated for assignment on Tuesday and officially released today. Ben Cherington made the move sooner rather than later in case there was another club that wanted to take a chance on Sizemore. If baseball production manifested in proportion to a player’s class Sizemore would be a resurgent All-Star.

Completely fueled by the summer sun David Ortiz stepped into the box in the tenth with one out. Casey Fien hung in against the designated hitter until the seventh pitch. Ortiz sent the ball around Pesky’s Pole to tie the game 1-1. Mike Napoli fell behind 0-2 but hammered Fien’s fastball into dead center.

Game 72: June 18, 2014 ∙ 10 innings
Minnesota Twins
1 BS, L: Casey Fien (1, 3-4)
HR: Chris Parmelee (4)
WinBoston Red Sox
2 W: Koji Uehara (2-1)
2B: Daniel Nava (5)
HR: David Ortiz (16), Mike Napoli (7)

Brock Star

Last night Brock Holt checked off center field off his list of positions to play. He got a feel for the territory when he fielded Danny Santana’s line drive single to start the game. That play seem to calibrate Holt to his new position’s parameters as he played the spot fluidly.

Holt demonstrated his prowess in the third inning. Jonny Gomes in left field lost Brian Dozier’s fly ball in the twilight, as did the crew operating the camera. The lens was fixed on Gomes, who gamely put up his glove in an attempt to deke Dozier. Stephen Drew appeared in frame pointing up frantically. Holt dashed into the picture with a dramatic dive and catch. Dozier could only shake his head in amazement.

This was Holt’s first put out in center.

David Ross joked with Holt, saying, “I hope you can’t catch.” After seeing Ross get hit in the throat by a pitch that bounced in the dirt I don’t think Holt will be actively campaigning to be backstop.

That white spot under Ross’s chin? The ball finding a tender, unprotected spot of his body.

Koji Uehara wasn’t available but Edward Mujica pitched a perfect ninth inning to secure the win for Jon Lester. Granted it was against the Twins, one of the few offenses that proved less competent than the Red Sox’s lineup.

Boston’s flagging offense left no margin for error for the pitchers. Lester allowed the opponents to score only once. In the sixth inning Ron Gardenhire played small ball after Santana led off the frame with a double down the left field line. Dozier sac bunted Santana over with Joe Mauer on deck. Mauer knocked the ball at Gomes, who trapped it but then lost it in the shuffle. Mauer’s double plated Santana, rendering the sacrifice bunt moot.

May this current malaise not lead John Farrell to the path of small ball, for down that path lays bunting and boredom.

Game 71: June 17, 2014
Minnesota Twins
1 L: Phil Hughes (7-3)
2B: Danny Santana (6), Joe Mauer (11)
WinBoston Red Sox
2 W: Jon Lester (8-7)
H: Burke Badenhop (4), Craig Breslow (2), Junichi Tazawa (7)
S: Edward Mujica (2)
2B: Dustin Pedroia (22), Stephen Drew (2), Brock Holt (12)

June 17, 2014

True Grit

I missed the beginning of this game but I had a good reason.

Clint Dempsey scored at the 32-second mark, the fastest goal by an American side ever in the World Cup. He was kicked in the face 33 minutes later but stayed in the game with a broken nose. He was having a hard time breathing because of the injury but stayed on the pitch. I am not alone in being annoyed by the flops that soccer players commit, but I will never question Dempsey’s toughness.

One of Dempsey’s Red Sox equivalents could be Jonny Gomes. He’s the first outfielder on the scene when a batter tries to take a run at pitcher. But he has a soft side, too. He gave this young fan his broken bat.

As weak as the Red Sox offense has been they may have found one even more anemic. The Twins’ offensive star was Sam Fuld, the only visiting player that notched an extra base hit. In the third inning he worked a base on balls with one out and swiped second base. He tried to score on Danny Santana’s single to center field when Jackie Bradley, Jr.’s throw was cut off. Instead he got cut down between third and home. That misplay mercifully avoided a 1-1 tie that would have been as futile as the Iran-Nigeria 0-0 stalemate in the World Cup.

Game 70: June 16, 2014
Minnesota Twins
0 L: Kevin Correia (3-8)
2B: Sam Fuld (7)
WinBoston Red Sox
1 W: Rubby De La Rosa (2-2)
H: Andrew Miller (6), Burke Badenhop (3)
S: Koji Uehara (15)
2B: Stephen Drew (1)

June 16, 2014

Mr. Padre

Today Tony Gwynn passed away. I’ll always remember watching him talk to Ted Williams at the 1999 All-Star Game. I would compare that conversation to Michelangelo discussing the finer points of painting with Leonardo da Vinci but those two artists did not like each other, according to Giorgio Vasari. Although the 1994 strike may have robbed him of the chance to follow in Williams’s footsteps as a .400 hitter, Gwynn was not embittered. Rest in peace, Mr. Gwynn.

This game was awful. It repeated Saturday’s 3-2 outcome but took 11 innings. I amused myself by playing separated at birth.

Here’s John Axford as a younger, taller Jerry Remy.

Home plate umpire Chris Guccione appeared as Steve Carrell. Lurking in the background is a batboy (or perhaps Jason Kipnis?) who resembled Paul Rudd at this angle. Terry Francona is sui generis.

Game 69: June 15, 2014 ∙ 11 innings
WinCleveland Indians
3 W: Cody Allen (3-1)
2B: Carlos Santana (9)
HR: Michael Brantley (11), Nick Swisher (4)
Boston Red Sox
2 BS: Burke Badenhop (1)
L: Junichi Tazawa (1-1)
No extra base hits

June 15, 2014

Close Shave

Jake Peavy had a “W” shaved into the back of his head. He went 6 innings with a line of 7 hits, 1 earned run, 2 walks, and 5 strikeouts. He was the pitcher of record when Jonny Gomes hustled down the first base line to avoid a double play, plated Dustin Pedroia, and gave the Red Sox a 2-1 lead.

Craig Breslow toed the rubber in the seventh frame. Asdrubal Cabrera led off the inning with a sharp grounder to Jonathan Herrera. The shortstop’s throw was in time but it popped out of Mike Napoli’s glove. Mike Brantley followed with a single to right, where Brock Holt made yet another positional debut. Cabrera alertly dashed to third base on the hit. Jason Kipnis knocked the ball to Pedroia who went home instead of to first. The ball was there in time but A.J. Pierzynski didn’t catch it.

Breslow got Lonnie Chisenhall and Nick Swisher out but then walked David Murphy. Junichi Tazawa took over but then surrendered a base on balls to Carlos Santana to force in the go-ahead run.

It’s another loss where the Red Sox have to take a good look at themselves in the mirror. What will it take to turn the squad’s fortunes around?

Holt added yet another position to his resume. He braved the afternoon sun in right field and even prevented Kipnis from scoring in the second inning with his adroit fielding of Swisher’s double. To complete the circuit this season Holt has to play at catcher, second base, shortstop, centerfield, and pitcher. His most important position? Puppy owner.

Game 68: June 14, 2014
WinCleveland Indians
3 W: John Axford (2-3)
H: Kyle Crockett (1), Bryan Shaw (10)
S: Cody Allen (7)
2B: Nick Swisher (12), Asdrubal Cabrera (17), Carlos Santana (8)
Boston Red Sox
2 BS, L: Craig Breslow (1, 2-2)
2B: David Ortiz (10), Dustin Pedroia (21), Brock Holt (11)

June 14, 2014


Even though last night converged two superstitious events, Friday the 13th and a full moon, the Red Sox scored the most runs in a single game this season. It was the first time they tallied double digits in runs. Quick, someone break a mirror or walk under a ladder!

Dustin Pedrioa (Miniculus tumultuosus) put on defensive clinic for his former manager Terry Francona (Cribbagis victus). He also doubled off the far left field wall in the seventh to give his team a 7-3 lead.

All these charts and graphs reminded me of Wile E. Coyote’s blueprints. Instead of detailing arcane contraptions designed to capture the Road Runner (Velocitus delectiblus), this information was intended to help Brad Mills (Calvus intellectualis) strategize against the Red Sox. Instead Mills and Francona have dropped the last two games against their former organization.

With the Red Sox already down two runs in the second inning Bryan Butterfield (Amans patriae subsp. amator) sent David Ortiz (Fidus obtundo) home on Daniel Nava’s (Parvus nummus) gutshot single.

The team was so relaxed with a huge lead in the ninth inning A.J. Pierzynski (Pugnus facies) lost count of the strikes. He threw the ball around the infield thinking that the batter struck out. It was odd because home plate umpire Tom Hallion’s (Caecus caeruleus) pivoting, boisterous third strike call is hard to miss.

Game 67: June 13, 2014
Cleveland Indians
3 L: Justin Masterson (4-5)
2B: Asdrubal Cabrera – 2 (16), Michael Brantley (17)
HR: Carlos Santana (8)
WinBoston Red Sox
10 W: John Lackey (8-4)
H: Andrew Miller (5)
2B: A.J. Pierzynski (10), Mike Napoli (10), Dustin Pedroia (20), Daniel Nava (4)
3B: Jackie Bradley Jr. (2)
HR: Xander Bogaerts (6)

June 13, 2014

Home Cooking

Josh Tomlin looked like a young, right-handed Randy Johnson. He didn’t pitch like one: 5⅔ innings pitched, 9 hits, 3 earned runs, 2 walks, and 3 strikeouts.

David Ortiz clouted a two-run homer to dead center in the fifth inning. He drove in Jackie Bradley, Jr., who had led off the stanza with a single lined to right field. These signs are dog-eared because of how often they are raised to celebrate the designated hitter’s clutch hits.

Bradley made a stunning play in the seventh inning. His counterpart Michael Bourn lofted the ball to the warning track in deep left-center. Bradley made the grab on the run and used the wall to stop his momentum. Just steps from the wall Bradley fired to Mike Napoli; the throw made it to Napoli’s glove in one bounce. Napoli did have to step a few steps away from the sack to make the catch but he was back in time to double off Mike Aviles.

Bradley wasn’t alone with outstanding defensive gems. The ball girl on the first base side snared Brantley’s foul ball with aplomb. Grady Sizemore similarly used the right field wall on his grab of Aviles’s foul ball to end the fifth inning. Sizemore smashed a kid’s hand when he sat on the wall for a split-second. I’ve seen more subtle displays of pain from soccer players in the World Cup.

Koji Uehara expended fourteen pitches in his perfect save opportunity. The only reason we don’t see this sign too often is because the offense hasn’t been keeping the team in the game. With so much talent on the roster we have seen flashes of a playoff contender, but if Boston can’t right its course Uehara may be an asset that the Red Sox deal.

Game 66: June 12, 2014
Cleveland Indians
2 L: Ross Tomlin (4-3)
2B: Michael Brantley (16)
WinBoston Red Sox
5 W: Jon Lester (7-7)
H: Junichi Tazawa (6)
S: Koji Uehara (14)
2B: Grady Sizemore (10), Brock Holt (10)
3B: Jonathan Herrera (1)
HR: David Ortiz (15)

June 12, 2014


The Red Sox were not able to get a hit off Wei-Yin Chen until the fourth inning. Dustin Pedroia’s laser lanced into right field where Nick Markakis tracked it down. At that point the score was 3-0 and there were two outs so Pedroia’s run didn’t mean anything. He tried to test Markakis’s arm anyway. The Orioles outfielder passed the test and Pedroia ended up with J.J. Hardy’s glove tagging his face.

Brock Holt turned 26 yesterday but didn’t have much to celebrate on the field. His ten-game hitting streak came to an end. In the bottom of the fourth Holt pursued Chris Davis’s batted ball into foul territory and amazingly kept it in his glove throughout a contorting slide. Holt watched it slip to the dirt at the last second. Davis ended up flying out to the deepest part of center field so it wasn’t a grievous error. It was amazing that Holt, who has only played a smattering of games in the outfield, managed to nearly make such a spectacular play.

Sadly, these small, incomplete triumphs are the only things to celebrate about this team of late.

Game 65: June 11, 2014
Boston Red Sox
0 L: Rubby De La Rosa (1-2)
No extra base hits
WinBaltimore Orioles
6 W: Wei-Yin Chen (7-2)
2B: Adam Jones (13), Chris Davis (8)
HR: Davis (10)

June 11, 2014

Cloudy With No Chance of Meatballs

Brandon Workman and Chris Tillman both defied two rain delays. Workman lasted for 6⅔ innings with four strikeouts, one walk, and one hit. Tillman turned in six frames with a line of three whiffs, three bases on balls, and seven hits. At times the rain poured down in torrents so perhaps a few outs were rain-aided. The way Workman has been pitching has made Felix Doubront fungible.

Mike Napoli drove in the only run of the evening in the third inning. Brock Holt led off the frame with a single up the middle that evaded the shift. Jerry Remy noted that they played Holt to pull even though there were two strikes against Holt, which I agree isn’t the optimum strategy.

Tillman neutralized Dustin Pedroia and Xander Bogaerts but allowed David Ortiz to reach on a six-pitch walk. Napoli sent the seventh pitch of his at bat into the right field.

The Red Sox have to learn how to start winning these tight games given that their offense isn’t clicking. Andrew Miller struck out Chris Davis, the one batter he faced. Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara both whiffed two batters to shut out the Orioles at home.

Game 64: June 10, 2014
WinBoston Red Sox
1 W: Brandon Workman (1-0)
H: Andrew Miller (4), Junichi Tazawa (5)
S: Koji Uehara (13)
No extra base hits
Baltimore Orioles
0 L: Chris Tillman (5-3)
No extra base hits

June 10, 2014

Three’s a Crowd

The Red Sox managed a mere three hits against Bud Norris. Brock Holt led off the game with a single but was caught stealing. The visitors didn’t get on base again until Daniel Nava doubled with two down in the fifth. David Ross also laced a double with one out but in the eighth inning.

Norris only surrendered three walks, none of them coinciding with the hits. Jonathan Herrera and Holt walked in the sixth inning. Nava worked the count full and elicited a base on balls in the seventh.

On the other side of the ball Jake Peavy relinquished three home runs. Orioles fans have souvenirs from Jones, Nick Markakis, and Ryan Flaherty. Yes, Flaherty of the .327 slugging percentage.

Three players, Nava, Mike Napoli, and Dustin Pedroia converged on Adam Jones’s fourth-inning bloop but none reached it before it touched turf. The ball plummeted like the Red Sox’s playoff hopes.

Game 63: June 9, 2014
Boston Red Sox
0 L: Jake Peavy (1-4)
2B: Daniel Nava (3), David Ross (5)
WinBaltimore Orioles
4 W: Bud Norris (5-5)
HR: Adam Jones (10), Nick Markakis (6), Ryan Flaherty (2)

June 9, 2014

Protection Racket

Brock Holt played hit first game as an outfielder but wasn’t fazed by the vast outfield of Comerica Park. He made a Gold Glove-caliber play in the third inning on Ian Kinsler’s swiftly falling fly ball to left.

Brad Ausmus decided to use Joba Chamberlain in the ninth. Joe Nathan was in the dugout, not the bullpen, so the former Yankee’s test run as closer could be explained away due to Nathan’s unavailability. Chamberlain gave up a single to Holt but then struck out Xander Bogaerts in four pitches. Dustin Pedroia proved more patient and worked a walk.

Mike Napoli had already proved that his stint on the disabled list didn’t diminish his skills with his game-tying homer in the sixth inning. Ausmus had no choice but to allow Chamberlain to pitch to David Ortiz. The only thing missing from this picture is a swarm of midges.

Ortiz helpfully showed everyone where Chamberlain’s pitch ended up. Time to revive the debates about the skill of clutch again thanks to Ortiz’s three-run game-winning circuit clout.

Game 62: June 8, 2014
WinBoston Red Sox
5 W: Jonn Lackey (7-4)
S: Koji Uehara (12)
2B: A.J. Pierzynski (9)
3B: Brock Holt (2)
HR: Mike Napoli (6), David Ortiz (14)
Detroit Tigers
3 BS, L: Joba Chamberlain (2, 1-3)
2B: Miguel Cabrera (21)

June 8, 2014

Gilded Fade

Detroit the city may be in decline but its baseball team reigns supreme in the AL Central. It’s funny how a few months can drastically alter each team’s fortunes. In October the Tigers were licking the wounds the Red Sox caused in the ALCS. Since then the major moves Detroit had made paid off. Ian Kinsler was a marked upgrade over Omar Infante and they traded Prince Fielder, who underwent season-ending neck surgery in May, just in time.

Shortstop has been a revolving door for Detroit with Jose Iglesias’s shin fractures keeping him off the field, but Dave Dombrowski may have plugged the hole with Eugenio Suarez. The rookie clouted his first major league home run in the fourth inning and got the silent treatment.

Maybe it’s time for Mookie Betts to enjoy the same congratulations, or lack thereof?

In the second inning Bryan Holaday seemed to have been tagged by Brock Holt for the first out of the frame but John Farrell got the no-go signal from the dugout. It might have been worth a challenge but now Farrell’s judgment seems to have gone as limp as his team’s bats.

The Red Sox mustered a semblance of a rally in the ninth inning. Holt and Xander Bogaerts singled and both advanced on a wild pitch to Dustin Pedroia. Pedroia lofted a sacrifice fly to Torii Hunter. Ortiz drove in Bogaerts with a ground out to Kinsler.

Grady Sizemore has been doubly lucky: the Red Sox have continued to give him at bats and Hunter misplayed his foul ball to right. Sizemore followed up with a gutshot single and Daniel Nava followed up with a single of his own. Stephen Drew, whom the Tigers could have signed to replace Iglesias but ultimately returned to the Red Sox, flied out to center to end the game.

Joba Chamberlain pitched a perfect eighth inning. Perhaps he will be tapped to replace Joe Nathan as closer. His beard reminded me that Mike Napoli returns to the lineup Sunday evening.

Game 61: June 7, 2014
Boston Red Sox
6 L: Jon Lester (6-7)
2B: David Ross (4), David Ortiz (9)
HR: Dustin Pedroia (3)
WinDetroit Tigers
8 W: Max Scherzer (7-2)
H: Al Alburquerque (9)
2B: Miguel Cabrera – 2 (20), Victor Martinez (14)
3B: Ian Kinsler (2)
HR: Nick Castellanos (5), Eugenio Suarez (1)

June 7, 2014

Future in Flux

With the season a little more than a third of the way through this edition of the Red Sox has shown that it is unlikely that they will catch lightning in a bottle a second year in a row. The offense is anemic. The starting rotation has pitched well enough but hasn’t had the requisite run support. The bullpen has been outstanding but not without a few rough patches (we’re looking at you, Chris Capuano and Edward Mujica).

Perhaps Boston’s near future is somewhat bleak but the team made investments for the long term in the first-year player draft. They selected a shortstop, Michael Chavis, in the first round. Perhaps with this pick Xander Bogaerts will start hitting even more. Chavis projects to be a second or third baseman.

With their compensation pick the Red Sox drafted another Michael, this one with the surname Kopech. Like so many pitchers he hails from Texas. He can hit 99 MPH with his fastball and has the apt Twitter alias K.O. pech.

I’ll be monitoring Sox Prospects’ draft history page and MLB’s Draft Central. Dreams of a far-flung future are more enjoyable than the present day given this squad’s current state.

Game 60: June 6, 2014
Boston Red Sox
2 L: Rubby De La Rosa (1-1)
2B: Xander Bogaerts (17), Jonny Gomes (6), Jonathan Herrera (1)
WinDetroit Tigers
6 W: Drew Smyly (3-4)
H: Ian Krol (10), Joba Chamberlain (12)
2B: Nick Castellanos (10)
3B: Bryan Holaday (1)
HR: Ian Kinsler (6), Torii Hunter (9), Victor Martinez (14)

June 6, 2014

Bang the Drum Lowly

I can’t blame John Adams for drowsing. The game was delayed two hours and 28 minutes and then lasted until the 12th frame.

The Red Sox have been having some issues with officiating but John Farrell did prevail in the fifth inning. He challenged the call that Mike Aviles was safe and the replay showed that Stephen Drew’s throw beat the runner to first.

A.J. PIerzynski was ejected in the sixth inning by Quinn Wolcott after Brandon Workman walked Asdrubal Cabrera in four pitches. Pierzynski claimed it was because he disagreed with Wolcott about when the game started. Perhaps he made a comment about a small strike zone enabling a quicker game.

A number of Red Sox players lengthened the game with their exploits. David Ortiz’s two-run homer in the sixth gave Boston the lead at the time. Brock Holt’s two-run single in the seventh tied the game 4-4. Relievers Burke Badenhop, Craig Breslow, Junichi Tazawa, and Koji Uehara stifled Cleveland’s offense for five innings.

In the 12th Farrell aligned the infield defense so that five fielders guarded the basepaths. There was one out and runners at the corners so a double play would have sent the game into the 13th inning. Cabrera had other plans. The shortstop sent the ball to the right field seats to win the game and pull his team to a .500 record.

Game 59: June 4, 2014 ∙ 12 innings
Boston Red Sox
4 BS: Chris Capuano (1)
L: Edward Mujica (2-2)
2B: A.J. Pierzynski (8)
HR: David Ortiz (13)
WinCleveland Indians
7 W: Carlos Carrasco (1-3)
2B: Jason Giambi (1)
HR: Asdrubal Cabrera (5)

June 4, 2014

Not in the House

T.J. House’s father was nicknamed “Tiger.” The son went by “Tiger Jr.” which was shortened to “T.J.” With any luck the young pitcher will avoid the fate that has befallen so many of his contemporaries: Tommy John surgery. House left the mound with his team in the lead 3-2. One run was the result of Xander Bogaerts’s solo shot in the third and the other was thanks to Jonny Gomes leading off the sixth with a walk and coming around to score on Jonathan Herrera’s liner to shallow left.

Bogaerts continued his hot streak with a leadoff double to the left-center gap in the seventh. Dustin Pedroia knotted the game 3-3 with a soft fly ball to right. The throw home by David Murphy was in time but off line.

The inexperience of the Red Sox infield was highlighted in the late innings. In the seventh Mike Aviles tried to bunt Murphy over to third but Peavy gathered the ball and managed to get the force at third. Bogaerts attempted to throw Aviles out at first but missed the target badly; only Pedroia’s coverage of first base saved the rookie from an error.

In the eighth more defensive lapses revealed themselves. Brock Holt’s pickoff hit Jason Kipnis in the back, something a natural first baseman wouldn’t do. Ryan Raburn reached on a fielder’s choice during which Bogaerts, Herrera, and Pedroia failed to execute a rundown play.

If Terry Francona owes John Farrell a favor now would be a good time to cash it in. After seemingly turning around their fortunes the Red Sox are floundering again. Cleveland is on the cusp of attaining a .500 record, something that Boston has only fleetingly achieved this season.

Game 58: June 3, 2014
Boston Red Sox
3 L: Jake Peavy (1-3)
2B: Xander Bogaerts (16), Dustin Pedroia (19)
HR: Bogaerts (5)
WinCleveland Indians
5 H: Marc Rzepczynski (6)
BS: Scott Atchison (2)
W: Nick Hagadone (1-0)
S: Cody Allen (5)
2B: Michael Bourn (6)

June 3, 2014

We Can’t Work It Out

Grady Sizemore returned to Cleveland for the first time since his career came off the rails in 2011. He was part of the team that defeated the Yankees in the 2007 ALDS and pushed the Red Sox to a seven-game ALCS. He said it still feels like home, but Sizemore didn’t recreate the production of his heyday.

Stephen Drew batted eighth and played short. He went 0-for-2 with a walk. At the keystone sack he was on the receiving end of two throws from A.J. Pierzynski that got to Drew’s glove in time but failed to get the runner out. Drew did take part of three double plays, however. Xander Bogaerts, who shifted to third base because of defensive issues, batted second and drove in the only Red Sox runs of the game with his two-run homer in the eighth inning.

Nerd alert!

Justin Masterson pitched poorly in the first inning but came around later in the game. In the fourth inning he had an immaculate inning: nine pitches, nine strikes, three strikeouts. Jonny Gomes, Sizemore, and Drew were the batters who were summarily dismissed. It was the 27th time an AL pitcher achieved this feat and the 74th time in major league history.

Aside from the end of the Red Sox winning streak there was upsetting news off the field. Brandon Workman was suspended for six games for throwing behind Evan Longoria. No Rays player, including David Price, received suspensions. David Ortiz was livid. “We’re the ones getting fines and suspensions,” he said. “I guess the rules aren’t for everyone.”

Game 57: June 2, 2014
Boston Red Sox
2 L: John Lackey (6-4)
HR: Xander Bogaerts (4)
WinCleveland Indians
3 W: Justin Masterson (3-4)
H: Bryan Shaw (8), Marc Rzepczynski (5)
S: Cody Allen (4)
3B: Michael Bourn (5)

June 1, 2014

Youth Movement

John Farrell said of Jonathan Herrera, Brock Holt, and Dustin Pedroia: “Three of the guys in the infield might not be able to get on rides at Six Flags.” D.J. Reyburn didn’t eject Pedroia after the third inning because of his height but because the second baseman complained about Reyburn’s strike zone. Reviewing Brooks Baseball’s strike zone maps showed that Pedroia did have something to complain about on a few of the calls.

Farrell looked like a Little League parent trying to plead the case for his disgruntled tyke.

Pedroia’s absence cleared the way for Garin Cecchini to make his major league debut. Herrera shifted to second base and Cecchini took over the hot corner. In the three-hole the greenhorn went 1-for-2 with a run batted in.

Milton native Alex Hassan also debuted for the Red Sox. He was called up on Friday to replace Ryan Lavarnway’s spot in the roster. Hassan went 1-for-3 with a base on balls and a run scored.

Hassan was driven in by one of Holt’s four doubles. This particular shot avoided Sean Rodriguez’s diving attempt and found the left field corner. Jackie Bradley, Jr., yet another youngster, scored on Holt’s hit.

Even though Jon Lester has been pitching well, with this win he only has a 6-6 record. As good as this team has looked in the past three series, they still have a sub-500 record. Is there time enough to get into position for a playoff run? “Had we but world enough, and time, This coyness, Red Sox, were no crime,” with apologies to Andrew Marvell.

Speaking of wooing, the Celtics have pulled out all the stops to lure Kevin Love to Boston. They’ve had success with players from Minnesota. David Ortiz did his part.

Game 56: June 1, 2014
Tampa Bay Rays
0 L: Erik Bedard (2-4)
2B: James Loney (13)
WinBoston Red Sox
4 W: Jon Lester (6-6)
2B: Brock Holt – 4 (9), Garin Cecchini (1)

In Your Face

Two players had balls smash into their faces under unusual circumstances. One of Rubby De La Rosa’s pitches ricocheted off A.J. Pierzynski’s leg protector right into Roman Ali Solis’s nose. Solis was pulled from the game and Jose Molina struck out for him. That whiff lives on Solis’s ledger, not Molina’s.

In the eighth inning Jackie Bradley, Jr. pursued Kevin Kiermaier’s fly ball to the Green Monster but misjudged the trajectory. The ball hit Bradley in the face and he crumpled to the ground in pain. Kiermaier scrambled for an inside-the-park home run. Bradley displayed his toughness and stayed in the game.

It was a game of firsts. De La Rosa enjoyed his first win in a Red Sox uniform. Brock Holt jolted his first major league home run. Bradley hammered his first circuit clout of the season. A Fox broadcast of a Red Sox game was enjoyable for the first time in a long time thanks to Tim McCarver’s departure. Tom Verducci has a somewhat florid vocal style that didn’t allow for the action on the field to speak for itself.

Not that I closely follow umpire crew rotations but for the first time I can recall a crew chief was replaced in the middle of a series. Jeff Kellogg, who presided over Friday evening’s eventful game, was replaced by Ted Barrett because of Kellogg’s “pre-existing personal matter.” I didn’t find any other details other than Ryan Hannable’s tweet.

Mike Carp was hit by a pitch for the second straight game. Jake Odorizzi’s curveball was obviously errant and without intent so the hot tempers from Friday’s game were not reignited. Instead the Red Sox took care of business on the field for a comfortable 7-1 victory to extend their winning streak to six games.

Game 55: May 31, 2014
Tampa Bay Rays
1 L: Jake Odorizzi (2-5)
2B: Ben Zobrist (8), David DeJesus (12)
HR: Kevin Kiermaier (2)
WinBoston Red Sox
7 W: Rubby De La Rosa (1-0)
2B: Xander Bogaerts (15)
HR: Brock Holt (1), Jackie Bradley Jr. (1)

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