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Home » Monthly Archive » May 2015

May 31, 2015


If you are a rookie pitcher you want to have your debut against the Boston Red Sox or Texas Rangers. Eduardo Rodriguez won his premier game handily and Rangers rookie Chi Chi Gonzalez followed suit. Gonzalez’s line was five and two-thirds innings pitched, two hits, five walks, and two strikeouts.

I wonder if Jerry Remy pronounced Gonzalez’s name like Les Nessman did.

Wade Miley was bested by Ross Ohlendorf in a milking contest and his bad luck carried into Saturday. There was also a cow milking contest in Anaheim. What is with this spate of animal husbandry games? Did minor league event coordinators get promoted in the majors and bring in their ideas?

John Farrell summarized Saturday’s outing succinctly. “That was an ugly game.”

Dustin Pedroia shared similar thoughts. “We really didn’t do anything,” he said. “We played terrible. No energy. That was bad. You guys watched it, there’s really nothing you can say. We were bad.”

Game 50: May 30, 2015
Boston Red Sox
0 L: Wade Miley (4-5)
2B: David Ortiz (9), Mike Napoli (5)
WinTexas Rangers
8 W: Chi Chi Gonzalez (1-0)
2B: Elvis Andrus (9), Robinson Chirinos (9), Leonys Martin (9)

May 30, 2015

Tichenor Battles

The Red Sox batters were having issues with home plate umpire Todd Tichenor’s calls. Dustin Pedroia didn’t think he struck out against Jon Edwards to end the seventh inning and let Tichenor know how he felt.

In the eighth Mike Napoli voiced his displeasure at being struck out. Tichenor must have rabbit ears because he heard Napoli from the dugout and tossed the Red Sox first baseman out of the game.

John Farrell lept to Napoli’s defense and was also ejected. It was an abrupt end to an inning that saw the Boston squad claw their way back into the game on Hanley Ramirez’s two-run homer.

With the score 5-4 Craig Breslow took over and promptly surrendered a single to Prince Fielder. Delino DeShields pinch ran for Fielder but the increase in speed didn’t prevent Adrian Beltre from grounding into a 5-4-3 double play. But Breslow couldn’t secure the final out and left two men on base for Matt Barnes, both of whom scored on Robinson Chirinos’s double to Carlos Peguero in left.

If only Eduardo Rodriguez could start every game.

Game 49: May 29, 2015
Boston Red Sox
4 L: Steven Wright (2-2)
HR: Hanley Ramirez (12)
WinTexas Rangers
7 W: Yovani Gallardo (5-6)
H: Jon Edwards (1), Ross Ohlendorf (5)
S: Shawn Tolleson (6)
2B: Adam Rosales (1), Mitch Moreland (9), Robinson Chirinos (8)
3B: Hanser Alberto (1)
HR: Josh Hamilton – 2 (2)

May 29, 2015

Rookie Rodriguez Victorious

After Eduardo Rodriguez’s dazzling major league debut Clay Buchholz huddled up close to the rookie sensation. Perhaps some of Rodriguez’s run support will rub off onto the other starters. Rodriguez pitched seven and two-thirds innings with three hits and two walks allowed. He struck out seven, including the hot-hitting Prince Fielder.

David Ortiz took a break last night and the rest of the lineup came through in his absence. Hanley Ramirez clubbed a solo shot in the sixth to increase the lead to 2-0. He received a well-deserved hug from Dustin Pedroia in the dugout. Pedroia went 3-for-5 in the leadoff spot.

A surprising offensive force was Blake Swihart in the eight-hole. He supported his rookie starter with a two-run single in the eighth. Every additional late-inning run helped with Tommy Layne toeing the rubber. Layne gave up an RBI single to Josh Hamilton, but that turned out to be a meaningless feel-good moment for the returning Ranger outfielder.

One must enjoy a certain form of torture to want to be a catcher. Robinson Chirinos arranged the warm-up equipment in an almost ritualistic manner before his at bat. Perhaps it brings him luck, but more likely it’s a cypher saying “help me out of this catching equipment” in baseball hobo symbology.

Game 48: May 28, 2015
WinBoston Red Sox
5 W: Eduardo Rodriguez (1-0)
2B: Hanley Ramirez (4)
3B: Mookie Betts (2)
HR: Ramirez (11)
Texas Rangers
1 L: Nick Martinez (4-1)
2B: Josh Hamilton (1), Adrian Beltre (9)

May 28, 2015

Gopher Balls in the Gopher State

Who had the better pitcher sad face, Phil Hughes or Rick Porcello?

Dustin Pedroia got to see Hughes’s face twice, in the third and fifth innings. Both times Pedroia drove in two runs, but the second baseman was the only Red Sox player with RBIs in this contest.

Porcello gave up the gopher ball twice as well. In the fourth inning Aaron Hicks clouted his first homer of the season. Eddie Rosario powered his second four-bagger in the sixth inning.

There were some moves that may help the Red Sox get on track. Daniel Nava was placed on the disabled list with an injured thumb. Heath Hembree was returned to Pawtucket and Jeff Bianchi was designated for assignment. Top prospect Eduardo Rodriguez was called up and will start against the Rangers tonight. Bolstering the bullpen and outfield respectively were call-ups Robbie Ross and Carlos Peguero.

Game 47: May 27, 2015
Boston Red Sox
4 L: Rick Porcello (4-4)
2B: Brock Holt (8)
HR: Dustin Pedroia – 2 (7)
WinMinnesota Twins
6 W: Phil Hughes (4-4)
H: Brian Duensing (3), Ryan Pressly (3), Michael Tonkin (5)
S: Glen Perkins (18)
HR: Aaron Hicks (1), Eddie Rosario (2)

May 27, 2015

Pass the Buch

In his past three starts Clay Buchholz has pitched into the eighth inning and allowed no more than two runs in each game. He has no wins to show for his streak of exceptional pitching.

The Red Sox were 2-for-3 with runners in scoring position. It wasn’t a terrible ratio, but was indicative of the dearth of scoring opportunities for the visitors.

Accompanying Buchholz’s excellent outing were superlative defensive plays. Xander Bogaerts barehanded Aaron Hicks’s grounder in the second inning and Dale Scott ruled in Boston’s favor. Replays showed that it was effectively a tie, and in this case even a challenge by Hall of Famer Paul Molitor didn’t give the tie to the runner.

Rusney Castillo made it his mission to atone for his rough 2015 debut game with sparkling defense. Kurt Suzuki had two hits foiled by the right fielder’s prodigious athleticism.

Moving David Ortiz to the five-hole had a somewhat positive effect: he doubled in the second inning. Mike Napoli drove Ortiz in for the Red Sox’s sole run. When Ortiz has had slow starts in seasons past he has joked that his bat warms up along with the temperature. If the Boston bats don’t come alive, Ortiz included, someone’s going to be feeling the heat.

Game 46: May 26, 2015
Boston Red Sox
1 L: Clay Buchholz (2-6)
2B: David Ortiz (8)
WinMinnesota Twins
2 W: Mike Pelfrey (4-1)
H: Blaine Boyer (9)
S: Glen Perkins (17)
2B: Brian Dozier (13), Trevor Plouffe (9), Kurt Suzuki (6)

May 26, 2015

Minnesota Flats

Whatever momentum the Red Sox built up over the weekend evaporated somewhere on the flight between Boston and Minneapolis. Joe Kelly couldn’t get out of the second inning, putting his team seven runs in the hole. Matt Barnes filled in capably by twirling three and one-third innings while surrendering five hits and striking out five. Then again, the Twins hitters weren’t particularly motivated in getting to Barnes given their lead.

Ricky Nolasco took advantage of the lead and the Red Sox batters’ impatience with a seven and two-third inning gem. He gave up only two runs while striking out five and walking none.

One area where both teams shone was on defense. Dustin Pedroia turned around a flashy play in the first to erase Torii Hunter from the basepaths.

In the second inning Aaron Hicks robbed Daniel Nava of a base hit. It was a catch in shallow center that warranted Statcast.

Hanley Ramirez notched his first RBI of the month in the third inning with a line drive single to right field. Boston’s four-hole hitter didn’t have a run batted in until the 25th of the month. Let that sink in and it is not a surprise why this team is mired in the sub-.500s.

Game 45: May 25, 2015
Boston Red Sox
2 L: Joe Kelly (1-4)
2B: Mookie Betts (10)
WinMinnesota Twins
7 W: Ricky Nolasco (5-1)
2B: Brian Dozier (12), Eduardo Nunez (5), Joe Mauer (10)
HR: Trevor Plouffe (7)

May 25, 2015

I Like Mike

Mike Napoli drove in two-thirds of the Red Sox’s runs yesterday. He clubbed his eighth home run of the season in the second inning, plating Xander Bogaerts. In the eighth he knocked the ball high enough off the center field wall that even Mike Trout couldn’t catch it, driving in Hanley Ramirez and Bogaerts.

Napoli celebrated with Pablo Sandoval in the dugout. Their matching haircuts are looking spiffier than the coiffure question marks proliferating in the rotation.

Wade Miley may have tripped in the fifth inning but he still got the out to end the frame. He carried a perfect game two outs into the fifth inning and lost his no-hitter right after. Miley regained his composure to last eight innings and only allowing Trout to drive in a run.

Rusney Castillo continued to be an adventure, this time on the basepaths. In the eighth inning he contributed to the local nine’s hit parade with a single off Cam Bedrosian. Castillo fell down when Sandoval arced a single to right field.

But I’ll take tripping baserunners over none. The Red Sox seemed to have clicked offensively and the pitching has stabilized.

Game 44: May 24, 2015
Los Angeles Angels
1 L: Hector Santiago (3-3)
2B: Mike Trout (8)
WinBoston Red Sox
6 W: Wade Miley (4-4)
2B: Brock Holt (7), Xander Bogaerts (5), Mike Napoli (4)
HR: Napoli (8)

Wrighting the Ship

American League West teams don’t have a lot of chance to practice against knuckleballers. Both current butterfly pitchers, R.A. Dickey and Steven Wright, reside on the opposite coast. Perhaps this unfamiliarity helped Wright prevail.

When Wright departed the mound in the seventh inning he had given up four hits, two earned runs, and a walk. He only struck out two batters, but he didn’t need to dominate the Angels, just befuddle them. It helped that the bats came alive behind him.

Blake Swihart helped Wright with two runs and a run batted. Wright returned the favor by carrying back Swihart’s special glove with him after his six and one-third innings of work.

No bat has heated up more than Mike Napoli’s. He clouted two home runs on Saturday night. Napoli’s resurgence can be traced back to Thursday night when a nine-year old fan named Ethan signed his bat. “Sometimes, there’s kids in the dugout and I go up and have them sign my bat,” he said. “The first home run I hit the other day actually hit where he signed it. It was pretty cool.”

Napoli almost fulfilled another fan’s wish in the second inning by hitting a home run to this sign. Instead he made many Boston fans’ dreams come true but sparking the formerly tepid offense.

The Red Sox were also sharp defensively, correcting course from the three-error showing in the series opener. Mookie Betts made a dazzling catch in the ninth when he snared David Freese’s fly ball to the center field wall. Koji Uehara needed that play as he walked the next two batters.

Game 43: May 23, 2015
Los Angeles Angels
3 L: C.J. Wilson (2-3)
2B: Albert Pujols (7), Kole Calhoun (8), Erick Aybar (7)
WinBoston Red Sox
8 W: Steven Wright (2-1)
H: Alexi Ogando (4)
HR: Mike Napoli – 2 (7)

May 23, 2015


Rick Porcello was pitching fairly well up until Albert Pujols took him long in the fourth inning. After the circuit clout Porcello loaded the bases by surrendering two singles and walking seven-hole hitter Chris Iannetta. The Red Sox starter got out of the jam when Blake Swihart caught Matt Joyce off third base to end the inning.

The Red Sox took the lead in the bottom of the fourth only to have Porcello get into even more trouble in the fifth inning. Johnny Giavotella and Erick Aybar worked walks. Mike Trout’s ball deflected off Brock Holt to Xander Bogaerts, plating both baserunners for the lead. Bogaerts butchered the throw and Trout advanced to second base.

The fun for the Angels didn’t stop there. Trout dashed to third base with Kole Calhoun batting. His slide was an amazing display of dexterity. He avoided Holt’s tag and just as his hand lost contact with the base his foot touched. John Tumpane called him out and Trout informed Mike Scioscia that they should challenge the call. The replay displayed Trout’s perfect coordination.

Rusney Castillo had a rough outing in his first major league game in 2015. In the fifth he failed to hold onto Marc Krauss’s fly ball for what should have been the second out. He did glove Giavotella’s can of corn on the next play. Castillo got coached by David Ortiz after he failed to help Mike Napoli on his slide at home in the fourth inning. The veteran demonstrated to Castillo how he has to tell his teammate how to slide to avoid the tag.

Game 42: May 22, 2015
WinLos Angeles Angels
12 W: Garrett Richards (4-2)
2B: Matt Joyce (7), David Freese (8), Albert Pujols (6)
HR: Pujols (8), Chris Iannetta (2), Erick Aybar (1)
Boston Red Sox
5 L: Rick Porcello (4-3)
2B: Brock Holt (6)
HR: Mike Napoli (5)

May 22, 2015

Home On Our Range

The Texas Rangers wrapped up a series win against the Red Sox last night thanks to the local nine’s sputtering offense. Boston was 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position. Clay Buchholz’s competent outing went to waste. While a line of seven and one-third innings with five hits, two earned runs, two walks, and four strikeouts isn’t brilliant, it should be enough for a win if the Red Sox offense lived up to its potential.

An example of how hard this team is pressing was Dustin Pedroia’s baserunning in the fourth. Pedroia tried to score on Hanley Ramirez’s comebacker to Wandy Rodriguez but was out at home. He was so out his slide was about five feet from home plate.

Ramirez seemed to learn a little from Delino DeShields’s masterful fielding in left. He made a catch on Adam Rosales’s fly ball in the second that probably would have evaded him in April. Yes, you know how badly a game went when Ramirez’s fielding is a highlight.

Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy tried to keep the mood light with their gigantic doppelgängers. But with a quarter of the season come and gone perhaps it’s time for other heads to roll.

Game 41: May 21, 2015
WinTexas Rangers
3 W: Wandy Rodriguez (2-2)
H: Keone Kela (4)
S: Shawn Tolleson (2)
2B: Leonys Martin (7)
HR: Mitch Moreland (3)
Boston Red Sox
1 L: Clay Buchholz (2-5)
2B: Dustin Pedroia (8), David Ortiz (7)

May 21, 2015

Run Aground

The Red Sox batters left 12 runners on base as a team and were 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position. The Rangers outfielders played Fenway as it it were their home park. Delino DeShields in particular handled the left field wall well. He robbed Hanley Ramirez of a hit in the second inning with a spectacular catch near the Monster.

Ramirez seems to be reading line drives better and running smarter routes. He made a few catches that he wouldn’t have made in April. But in the seventh Ramirez bobbled Leonys Martin’s hit after gathering it. Mookie Betts backed up the play and nearly got it back to Brock Holt at third base in time. Rather than rely on his fielders again Joe Kelly struck out the next two batters to keep Martin from scoring.

The Boston squad had baserunners in every inning but the first and they only scored when Xander Bogaerts homered in the fifth. Betts dashed for a double with one out in the ninth, sparking a slight hope for a last-minute victory. But the local nine lost the game just as Betts lost his helmet.

Game 40: May 20, 2015
WinTexas Rangers
2 W: Phil Klein (1-0)
H: Alex Claudio (3), Tanner Scheppers (4), Ross Ohlendorf (2)
S: Shawn Tolleson (1)
2B: Leonys Martin (6), Delino DeShields (5)
HR: Robinson Chirinos (4)
Boston Red Sox
1 L: Joe Kelly (1-3)
2B: Daniel Nava (2), Mookie Betts (9)
HR: Xander Bogaerts (2)

May 20, 2015

Endangered Species

Pablo Sandoval collapsed into a heap when Sam Freeman’s 95 MPH fastball found his knee. Freeman had best watch out: the penalty for poaching pandas is 20 years imprisonment. Even luckier for him: this was reduced from the death penalty in 1997. Sandoval is day-to-day as the result of this injury.

If you’re a fan of “Breaking Bad” you know what $80 million in stacks of bills looks like. Here’s what $95 million in a pile looks like.

Besides a panda another rarity came to light in the third inning. Xander Bogaerts found himself in left field backing up Hanley Ramirez when Prince Fielder’s ricocheting fly ball got away from Ramirez. After Bogaerts ran it down and turned around to get it back to the infield it was funny to think that this is one of the longest throws he is likely to make in-game.

Bogaerts was part of an unusual event in the fourth frame. His fly ball to left hit off the ladder that steadfastly sticks to the Green Monster. Though its purpose has since become extinct it remains on the wall as a charming anachronism.

Ramirez should render extinct the awkward slide he exhibited in the fifth inning. The left fielder was ruled safe despite his halting approach to the keystone sack. Ramirez came up limping as Elvis Andrus convinced his manager to challenge the call. The Rangers lost the challenge and ultimately the game.

Game 39: May 19, 2015
Texas Rangers
3 L: Yovani Gallardo (3-6)
2B: Prince Fielder (9), Kyle Blanks (4)
3B: Robinson Chirinos (1)
HR: Leonys Martin (2)
WinBoston Red Sox
4 W: Wade Miley (3-4)
H: Junichi Tazawa (8)
S: Koji Uehara (10)
2B: Dustin Pedroia – 2 (7), Hanley Ramirez – 2 (3)
HR: Mike Napoli (4), David Ortiz (6)

May 18, 2015

Scoreless in Seattle

James Paxton extended his scoreless innings streak to 20⅔ by blanking the Red Sox for eight frames. Only Brock Holt managed an extra base hit off the emergent ace, and he was stranded after his seventh-inning double.

Blake Swihart grounded out to short to end the incipient rally. I wouldn’t blame the rookie catcher for going 1-for-3 with three left on base. He had a lot on his plate having to catch knuckleballer Steven Wright. The oversized glove Swihart used didn’t help with a passed ball in the second inning that led to the Mariners’ first run.

Swihart did catch Justin Ruggiano stealing in the seventh inning. The inning-ending out took the bat out of Robinson Cano’s hands.

Xander Bogaerts slid head-first even though Logan Morrison wasn’t near the bag and Paxton failed to cover first anyway. Baseball players: do not do this except to avoid a tag. It only slows you down and increases your injury risk.

Game 38: May 17, 2015
Boston Red Sox
0 L: Steven Wright (1-1)
2B: Brock Holt (5)
WinSeattle Mariners
5 W: James Paxton (2-2)
2B: Justin Ruggiano (3)
HR: Brad Miller (5), Kyle Seager (5)


The actual Boston Royal Giants and Seattle Steelheads never faced each other but the present-day Red Sox and Mariners recreated a tableau of Negro League glory Saturday evening.

Pablo Sandoval and David Ortiz represented the sluggers of the bygone era well with solo circuit clouts in the second and third innings respectively. Even more amazing is that they hit their homers off Felix Hernandez, who went into this game with a 1.85 ERA and ended at 2.30. I liked that the teams went the extra mile and had Negro League-specific batting helmets.

Dustin Pedroia went 2-for-5 with two runners in scoring position left on base. But he and the rest of the infielders played solidly behind ground ball pitcher Rick Porcello. The only way the Red Sox starter was in the same league as Hernandez was their lucrative contracts.

Hernandez lasted six innings with seven hits, four earned runs, four walks, and five strikeouts. At the beginning of his final frame he seemed to tweak his left ankle. The visitors took advantage of Hernandez’s injury and tacked on two insurance runs.

Brad Miller was responsible for both of the Mariners’ runs with his solo homers in the first and fifth innings.

The followers in the Kings Court didn’t have a lot to cheer about in this game. Of these two Boston fans only one seemed to know what to expect in this part of Safeco Field.

Game 37: May 16, 2015
WinBoston Red Sox
4 W: Rick Porcello (4-2)
H: Tommy Layne (1), Junichi Tazawa (7)
S: Koji Uehara (9)
2B: Blake Swihart (3)
HR: Pablo Sandoval (5), David Ortiz (5)
Seattle Mariners
2 L: Felix Hernandez (6-1)
2B: Dustin Ackley (4)
HR: Brad Miller – 2 (4)

May 16, 2015

Layne Change

Clay Buchholz threw for eight near-brilliant innings; the only blemish on his line was a home run surrendered to Seth Smith in the sixth. He struck out 11 batters, walked none, and allowed just three hits.

Tommy Layne was to hold the line in the ninth and did fairly well: he notched two outs but gave up a single to Brad Miller. John Farrell pulled Layne in favor of Junichi Tazawa to face Nelson Cruz. Cruz worked the count full then laced the ball into deep left.

The Mariners celebrated the victory like they won the pennant. The phrase “act like you’ve been there before comes to mind,” but since this is Seattle it’s more “Gatorade showers are so cliché, we hoist people over our shoulders and do water baths now.”

Note to the Mariners marketing crew: fedoras are so eight years ago. You need to update to porkpie or newsboy cap nights. Excellent call on Negro Leagues Night planned for Saturday night, however.

Game 36: May 15, 2015
Boston Red Sox
1 L: Tommy Layne (0-1)
3B: Xander Bogaerts (3)
WinSeattle Mariners
2 W: Tom Wilhelmsen (1-0)
2B: Robinson Cano (12)
HR: Seth Smith (3)

May 15, 2015

Hawaiian Superman

He fished out all the islands with a magic hook
There would've been more but somebody looked
He pulled morning sky, the sun he entwined
To slow down his flight, so kapa could dry
— Israel Kamakawiwo‘ole, “Maui Hawaiian Sup’pa Man”

Kapa” is the fabric made by pounding the bast fibers of plants into fabric. It was said that the people could not dry their kapa because the sun flew so quickly across the sky. The demigod Maui slowed down the sun so the people could have their cloth.

Shane Victorino flashed some of his heroics last night. In the fourth inning he sent Roenis Elias’s pitch out of the park to score the first run of the game and give his team the lead.

Victorino staunched a potential Mariners rally in the seventh. Justin Ruggiano lofted the ball to deep right field. Chris Taylor thought he would get the go-ahead run easily on the fly ball but Victorino had other plans. Like Maui snaring the sun Victorino caught the ball. Victorino redirected his momentum after hitting the wall and fired to Mike Napoli. When you fly too close to the sun you’re going to get burned.

Dustin Pedroia made two skillful (some would say lucky) plays off deflections in the bottom of the fourth. The second play came with the bases loaded, two outs, and the Red Sox with a one-run lead. Dustin Ackley knocked the ball to Napoli who tried to glove it but had it pop out. Pedroia was there to field it and quickly toss it to Joe Kelly.

In “Game of Thrones” we learned that it’s good luck to rub a dwarf’s head. Napoli took it one step further and kissed Pedroia’s dome.

Game 35: May 14, 2015
WinBoston Red Sox
2 W: Matt Barnes (2-0)
S: Koji Uehara (8)
2B: Hanley Ramirez (1), Brock Holt (4)
HR: Shane Victorino (1)
Seattle Mariners
1 L: Fernando Rodney (1-2)
No extra base hits

May 14, 2015

Wading Towards a Gem

This series against the cellar-dwelling Athletics has been much more difficult than it should have been. The first game was an extra-innings victory, the middle game a rout for the home team, and this game a taut pitchers’ gem.

Wade Miley held Oakland scoreless. He overcame the leadoff man reaching base four times, including a leadoff triple by Marcus Semien in the third.

Coco Crisp reached base without an out two times. He worked a walk in the first inning. In the fifth inning he tallied his first hit of the season and bowed when the crowd cheered for the long-awaited event. What he hasn’t done with his bat he has made up for with his glove.

Daniel Nava was Miley’s favorite batter. He singled in Hanley Ramirez in the second inning.

Six long innings later Nava sent a ground ball single up the middle. Dustin Pedroia followed with a single to Semien. In his haste the shortstop sent the ball into the stands. This is quite the accomplishment considering the size of Coliseum’s foul territory.

Next up are the Seattle Mariners. They sport a similar record to the Red Sox but significantly less is expected of them.

Game 34: May 13, 2015
WinBoston Red Sox
2 W: Wade Miley (2-4)
H: Junichi Tazawa (6)
S: Koji Uehara (7)
No extra base hits
Oakland Athletics
0 BS: Evan Scribner (1)
L: Angel Castro (0-1)
2B: Josh Phegley (1)
3B: Marcus Semien (2)

Just Not In Time

Justin Masterson had a dreadful outing. In the two and one-third innings he pitched he gave up six hits, two of them homers. All told he surrendered six earned runs as he walked one and struck out one. The day after this performance he found himself on the disabled list with arm fatigue.

“I’m not real happy, but I don’t have to be,” said the beleaguered starter. No one is really happy when you have a pitcher who pressures his offense into having to produce.

Maybe that is what Dustin Pedroia was thinking when he tried and failed to stretch his first-inning single into a double. Masterson was throwing batting practice speed to opponents and consistently forced his teammates to play from behind.

With Masterson on the disabled list Steven Wright could be tapped to fill the hole in the rotation, but his five and two-thirds innings did not make a convincing case. Wright gave up six hits, three earned runs, and three walks while striking out four.

Even the laws of physics seemed to favor the Athletics last night. When Sam Fuld nubbed the ball towards Pedroia with Brett Lawrie on the run from first it narrowly missed the nimble baserunner. Eric Sogard then doubled in Lawrie to add to Oakland’s lead.

Game 33: May 12, 2015
Boston Red Sox
2 L: Justin Masterson (2-2)
2B: Shane Victorino (2)
WinOakland Athletics
9 W: Drew Pomeranz (2-3)
2B: Eric Sogard (5)
3B: Marcus Semien (1)
HR: Stephen Vogt (9), Josh Reddick (6), Semien (6)

May 12, 2015

Panda Power

Going into this game the Athletics were in last place in the American League West and attempting to snap a five-game losing streak. As poorly as Oakland has been playing they still stretched the Red Sox into extra innings by tying the game in the seventh inning.

It took a circuit clout in the 11th authored by Pablo Sandoval to break the 4-4 tie. Perhaps the Bay Area air reinvigorated him.

In earlier innings the Athletics managed to scrape back into a tie. In the bottom of the 11th Matt Barnes slammed the door shut with just six pitches. It was Barnes’s first major league win. Note that it was Matt Barnes the rookie reliever, not Matt Barnes the Clippers’ small forward.

The taut contest also had a bit of history sprinkled in the sixth inning. David Ortiz’s leadoff double to Coco Crisp didn’t lead to a run but it was his 1,041st extra base hit. He shares 26th place with Pete Rose in the record books.

The Boston squad is on a two-game winning streak. They’re getting hot; best put on oven mitts before handling them.

Game 32: May 11, 2015 ∙ 11 innings
WinBoston Red Sox
5 BS: Craig Breslow (3-3)
W: Matt Barnes (1-0)
2B: Blake Swihart (2), David Ortiz (6)
HR: Pablo Sandoval (4)
Oakland Athletics
4 BS: Evan Scribner (1)
L: Angel Castro (0-1)
2B: Ike Davis (9), Billy Butler (7), Stephen Vogt (5), Billy Burns (2)

May 11, 2015

What You Talkin’ ’Bout, Willis?

Well, whatever new pitching coach Carl Willis said to Clay Buchholz, it worked. Buchholz pitched for six and a third innings with seven hits, three earned runs, three strikeouts, and three walks. It wasn’t his best outing but it was good enough to tally his first win since Opening Day.

I hope it wasn’t Willis’s idea for Buchholz’s new hairstyle. What if this look took rotation and bullpen by storm? Perhaps they would get better results as the batters just couldn’t focus on the ball.

As much as Buchholz’s lack of imploding helped, so did the revival of two hitters. Mike Napoli and Pablo Sandoval both clubbed home runs. That both of them only have three circuit clouts to their name as of this game is indicative that starting pitching isn’t this team’s only problem.

At times Boston batters would make excellent contact but get robbed by fabulous fielding. Mookie Betts nearly fell victim to this in the first inning. He laced the ball to deep center and Kevin Pillar almost made a Betts-level play on it. Pillar gloved the ball but it came loose when he landed. Betts was driven in by Dustin Pedroia and the Red Sox scored first for the first time this series.

Game 31: May 10, 2015
WinBoston Red Sox
6 W: Clay Buchholz (2-4)
S: Koji Uehara (6)
2B: Pablo Sandoval (5)
3B: Mookie Betts (1)
HR: Mike Napoli (3), Sandoval (3)
Toronto Blue Jays
3 L: R.A. Dickey (1-4)
2B: Devon Travis (8), Josh Donaldson (8), Josh Thole (1)

May 10, 2015

Kelly Careen

Joe Kelly’s Cy Young campaign is progressing as well as Carly Fiorina’s and Ted Cruz’s presidential campaigns. Fiorina failed to register CarlyFiorina.org and it leads to a page that displays how many people she laid off as CEO of Hewlett Packard with sad face emoticons. Similarly TedCruz.com goes to a page that states “Support President Obama. Immigration Reform Now!”

JoeKelly.com is for sale if anyone is interested. You could post his ERA (6.35), ERA+ (65), and FIP (4.49). Despite his high-90s heat he carries a 1-3 record.

The starter seemed to be pressing. He threw away a pickoff throw in the first inning that allowed Josh Donaldson to advance to second base. Kelly walked Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion to load the bases. Russell Martin lofted a fly ball to right field to plate Donaldson for the Blue Jays’ first run.

Kelly walked Massachusetts native Chris Colabello to start the home half of the second frame. Ryan Goins then flied out to left field and Kelly had an out under his belt. Devon Travis tapped the ball towards Mike Napoli on what should have been a routine ground out but for Kelly getting in Travis’s way. Colabello reached second on the interference and scored with Donaldson’s ground ball single to left.

Perhaps Boston’s new pitching coach Carl Willis can work with Kelly to get his game back on track. Kelly’s first task: register JoeKelly.com.

Game 30: May 9, 2015
Boston Red Sox
1 L: Joe Kelly (1-2)
2B: Mike Napoli (3), Mookie Betts (8)
WinToronto Blue Jays
7 W: Drew Hutchison (3-0)
2B: Ezequiel Carrera (1)
HR: Edwin Encarnacion (5)

May 9, 2015

Challenging Times

The Red Sox should fire hitting coach Chili Davis. This is the first game this season that the squad had been shut out and obviously things need to be shaken up. As we can see the dismissal of Juan Nieves has turned around the pitching staff.

Wade Miley went six innings with eight hits (including two homers) and four earned runs. He only walked one batter and struck out eight, on the somewhat positive side.

The Red Sox were soundly beaten but they prevailed in challenges 2-1. In the third inning Xander Bogaerts was called out at first but replay showed he was safe by a hair.

Mookie Betts smashed against the wall trying to catch Jose Bautista’s deep fly ball. Perhaps the collision caused the ball to drop back into the field for a triple rather than a home run. Bautista went on to score on Edwin Encarnacion’s single anyway, but Robbie Ross, Jr. doesn’t have a home run on his ledger.

The Blue Jays won a challenge in the seventh when Allen Craig seemed to beat out Ryan Goins’s outstanding throw. The replay officials overturned the safe call. And that’s why Craig is headed for Pawtucket, not his .146/.255/.208 slash line.

Craig will be joining Travis Shaw, who made his major league debut in this game only to be optioned to Triple-A after the game. Shaw had three at bats, reaching base only once with a walk.

Game 29: May 8, 2015
Boston Red Sox
0 L: Wade Miley (1-4)
No extra base hits
WinToronto Blue Jays
7 W: Aaron Sanchez (3-2)
H: Aaron Loup (3)
2B: Edwin Encarnacion (5), Russell Martin (8)
3B: Jose Bautista (1)
HR: Josh Donaldson (7), Chris Colabello (1)

May 8, 2015

Juan Gone

It was a game of firsts and lasts. Blake Swihart got his first run batted in as a major league player in the third inning. He sent a humpback double into center field to plate Xander Bogaerts, who also doubled. Swihart also tallied his first run, crossing home plate on Dustin Pedroia’s sacrifice fly to center.

Edward Mujica made his last appearance in a Red Sox uniform. He relieved Justin Masterson in the fifth inning after the starter surrendered two consecutive walks bookended by two singles. Mujica got out of the inning cleanly and escaped damage in the sixth. Rene Rivera led off with a double but was moved over by Kevin Kiermaier’s bunt. Kiermaier was ruled safe at first but John Farrell won the challenge. Mujica then fielded Logan Forsythe’s comebacker and nailed Rivera at home.

Mujica fought valiantly, Mujica fought nobly. And Mujica was DFAed.

Juan Nieves was fired yesterday. No replacement has been announced as of yet. With the release of the Wells Report there’s likely to be a few openings in the Patriots clubhouse for guys who know their way around balls.

Nieves is a scapegoat for the underperforming, overwhelmingly mediocre pitching staff, Farrell indicated that Nieves wasn’t getting the results he used to. “There’s a number of things that go into this, but the ability to maintain the consistency or affect change when needed or adjustments that are required that’s typical with any pitcher, that wasn’t the same as we saw two years ago,” the skipper said.

Game 28: May 6, 2015
WinTampa Bay Rays
5 W: Alex Colome (2-0)
H: Xavier Cedeno (2), Steve Geltz (2), Kevin Jepsen (6)
S: Brad Boxberger (7)
2B: Brandon Guyer (6), David DeJesus (3), Rene Rivera (3)
HR: Evan Longoria – 2 (3)
Boston Red Sox
3 L: Clay Buchholz (1-4)
2B: Xander Bogaerts (3), Blake Swihart (1)
HR: Mookie Betts (5)

May 6, 2015

Mookie Monster

Drew Smyly held the Red Sox hitless until the sixth inning. Kevin Kiermaier came up huge in the fourth inning by chasing down David Ortiz’s deep fly ball to the triangle. A litany of other fielders have taken on the treacherous triangle to come up lame: Johnny Damon, Coco Crisp, and Torii Hunter. Kiermaier navigated the area flawlessly and robbed the Red Sox designated hitter of extra bases.

Rick Porcello pitched well against Smyly, going seven innings with eight hits, six strikeouts, no walks, and most importantly no runs. Porcello was aided by crisp defense, a must for a ground ball pitcher. In the fourth inning Evan Longoria wandered too far off second base. Logan Forsythe lined out to Mookie Betts and the center fielder fired to Xander Bogaerts for an unusual 8-6 double play.

Betts scored the only runs of the game. He launched two leadoff home runs in the sixth and eighth innings. Déjà Mookie. The center fielder assumed Hanley Ramirez’s mantle as the offensive force on the team, breaking his team’s four-game skid.

Game 27: May 5, 2015
Tampa Bay Rays
0 L: Drew Smyly (0-1)
No extra base hits
WinBoston Red Sox
2 L: Clay Buchholz (1-4)
2B: David Ortiz (5)
HR: Mookie Betts – 2 (4)

May 5, 2015

May the Remorse Be With You

The force was not strong in this one. The Red Sox have lost their last four games, all against divisional opponents. They went from first in the AL East to last place in nine days.

Hanley Ramirez chased down James Loney’s fly ball and smashed into the wall holding the left field seats. He held onto the ball for two steps, but this is not football and that is an old rule anyway. Ramirez, the only consistent force on the offensive side for the Red Sox, left the game and is day-to-day.

Steve Souza, Jr. also found himself hitting the wall in the first inning. His impact was a feeble bump after a half-hearted leap for Dustin Pedroia’s line drive. The gentle love tap caused the rookie to drop the ball and allowed Pedroia to reach second.

Xander Bogaerts notched his second triple of the season in the second inning, driving in his team’s only run of the game. Bogaerts and Pablo Sandoval almost collided on Asdrubal Cabrera’s pop-up.

The Red Sox are out of sync at the rubber, on the field, and in the box. They can rally around Ramirez’s absence or wither.

Game 26: May 4, 2015
WinTampa Bay Rays
5 W: Jake Odorizzi (3-2)
2B: James Loney (3), Evan Longoria (9), Logan Forsythe (8), Steve Souza Jr. (4)
HR: Joey Butler (1)
Boston Red Sox
1 L: Clay Buchholz (1-4)
2B: Dustin Pedroia (5), Mookie Betts (7), Brock Holt (3)
3B: Brock Holt (1), Xander Bogaerts (2)

May 4, 2015

Plunking Machines

Dalier Hinojosa made his major league debut in the eighth inning. He inherited runners at the corners and one out from Edward Mujica and faced Alex Rodriguez. Rodriguez saw only one ball out of the strike zone and went down swinging. Hinojosa was optioned back to Pawtucket, but he can head south knowing he didn’t give up an earned run and struck out an all-time great.

Hanley Ramirez was hit by a pitch in the sixth inning by Adam Warren. The 90 MPH found his left hip. At first the Red Sox answered back with their bats. The local nine scored five runs in the frame, including a three-run homer launched by Mike Napoli.

Edward Mujica then joined the conversation by plunking Jacoby Ellsbury in the eighth inning. Home plate umpire Jeff Nelson warned both benches after the incident.

Perhaps the Red Sox salvaged a modicum of esprit de corps after retaliating against the Yankees. But where the score really counts is in the win column and the Red Sox failed to notch a single win in this three-game series.

Game 25: May 3, 2015
WinNew York Yankees
8 W: Adam Warren (2-1)
H: Justin Wilson (4), David Carpenter (2)
S: Andrew Miller (10)
2B: Brian McCann (5), Carlos Beltran (7)
HR: Mark Teixeira (9), Brett Gardner (2)
Boston Red Sox
5 L: Joe Kelly (1-1)
2B: Mookie Betts (6), David Ortiz (4)
HR: Mike Napoli (2)

May 3, 2015

Fresh Catch

Ryan Hanigan was relegated to the 60-day disabled list due to his broken finger, prompting the Red Sox to accelerate Blake Swihart’s timetable. He made his major league debut and went 1-for-3 with a walk and two whiffs. He legged out a single in the fifth inning with two out, displaying quite a bit of hustle for a backstop.

Swihart worked a base on balls in the seventh inning with two out and a full count. This led to his first run scored when Mookie Betts laced a double to left field. While he handled Wade Miley and the bullpen well enough the Red Sox offense couldn’t overcome the visitors’ four runs.

The Yankees sit atop the AL East but don’t play like a unified squad. Chase Headley bungled David Ortiz’s pop-up in the first inning and tried hard to make up for it in the second frame. Too hard, if you ask Didi Gregorius. Headley horned in on a pop-up off Pablo Sandoval’s bat.

Sandoval exited the game after Brett Gardner slid into third base and hooked the third baseman’s ankle in the process. Sandoval is known for hard slides so perhaps what comes around goes around. Fortunately the injury wasn’t serious and won’t keep Sandoval out of the lineup. The Red Sox will need every power bat on the roster to try to salvage a win against the Yankees tonight.

Game 24: May 2, 2015
WinNew York Yankees
4 W: Nathan Eovaldi (2-0)
H: Chris Martin (3), Justin Wilson (3)
S: Dellin Betances (1)
2B: Chris Young (6), Brett Gardner (4), Chase Headley (4)
HR: Young (6)
Boston Red Sox
2 L: Wade Miley (1-3)
2B: Mookie Betts (5)
HR: Dustin Pedroia (5)

May 2, 2015

Six Million Dollar Sham

Alex Rodriguez slammed his first pinch-hit home run last night. It was his 660th circuit clout, tying him with Willie Mays and ultimately winning the game. His contract includes a marketing agreement in which he could reap $30 million in bonuses. This home run could have Rodriguez pocketing $6 million, but Brian Cashman is saying they won’t pay it. “We have the right not the obligation to do something. And that’s it. It’s not you do this, you get that. It’s completely different.”

The Yankees won last night’s battle but in the skirmish of facial hair the Red Sox obviously prevail. Many of the visiting players sported wispy mustaches. Jacoby Ellsbury’s is a prime example.

Justin Masteron’s muttonchops along could beat the entire New York lineup. Throw in Mike Napoli, Wade Miley, and Robbie Ross, Jr. and it is no contest.

Game 23: May 1, 2015
WinNew York Yankees
3 W: Esmil Rogers (1-1)
H: Dellin Betances (6)
S: Andrew Miller (9)
2B: Carlos Beltran (6), Chase Headley (3)
HR: Alex Rodriguez (6)
Boston Red Sox
2 BS: Tommy Layne (1)
L: Junichi Tazawa (0-1)
2B: Xander Bogaerts (2), Ryan Hanigan (2), Mike Napoli (2)
HR: Allen Craig (1)

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