Sunday, September 25, 2016

Pedey's Electric-Slide-Boog-A-Loo Allows Sox 3-2 Win

(AP Photo)
The Red Sox pitching staff struck out 23 Rays—a record 21 in nine innings and 11 straight at one point. These days you can't even do that at SeaWorld! But it was not Boston's swing-and-miss prowess that was the real story of this game—it was the Tampa catcher's swing and miss on a botched tag of Dustin Pedroia at the plate. The Muddy Chicken should have been out by 15 feet, but he put on more moves than Walter Payton to pretzel his way around the tag. At one point it looked like a hardball version of Twister. The 10-inning run counted and Boston's 3-2 win reduced it's Magic Number to clinch the division down to just two. Pedroia had clouted a solo HR earlier to provide a 2-1 edge, but this weird game had many more oddities to come. Eduardo Rodriguez pitched well for 5 1/3 innings—striking out 13 and giving up just three hits. And, of course, David Ortiz—in his final at-bat at The Trop—doubled in The Laser Show with the eventual winning run. Enough stuff for you?

Marlins Star José Fernández Killed In Boating Accident

The baseball world got chilling news on Sunday morning as young pitching star José Fernández was killed in a boating accident in Miami. The 24-year old was having another stellar season—going 16-8 with a 2.86 ERA. He shot onto the scene in 2013 as Rookie Of The Year in the NL, and was 38-17 in four seasons with the Marlins. Reportedly, the boat he was in (with two others) was traveling at high speeds when it hit a jetty at full impact and overturned. Red Sox star David Ortiz offered this thought in a Tweet today, "I don't have the words to describe the pain feel for the loss of my friend Jose. Goodbye, my friend."

Pedey Salami Sends Red Sox To The Post-Season, 6-4

(AP Photo)
There will be a handful of epic moments in this amazing 2016 season. One will be the Hanley Ramirez walk-off HR against The Evil Ones. Another will be last night's eight-pitch Grand Slam at-bat by Dustin Pedroia. Barely foul-ticking a pitch to stay alive, Pedroia golfed a change-up over the left-field fence to give Boston a 6-3 advantage in an eventual 6-4 win. With playoff math only Stephen Hawking could understand, the victory propelled the Red Sox to their first post-season berth since the 2013 World Series Championship season. Rick Porcello pitched well enough to garner his 22nd win of the year, and the bullpen once again demonstrated its September magic. Brock Holt and Hanley also contributed to the cause, but, again, Boston seems to be getting "team wins" in September—contributions from exactly every player they need. The Magic Number to clinch the AL East title is now just three.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Papi Propels Red Sox To Reduce Magic Number To Four

(AP Photo)
If left unfettered, it would probably be somewhere over the New Jersey Turnpike this morning. The first-inning moonshot launched by David Ortiz in Tampa last night hit one of the fake stadium's catwalks, and thus could not enter earth orbit. It was the margin of victory in Boston's eventual 2-1 win over the hapless (and fan-less) Rays. Drew Pomeranz was just good enough to get the win—going five innings and giving up just a solo HR. Once again, the formerly mocked bullpen came through with four scoreless innings—including a 9th-inning save by Brad Ziegler. Mookie Betts had three hits and raised his average to .321. The win reduced Boston's Magic Number to clinch the AL East to four.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Modest Proposal: Stick Holt At Third For Rest Of Season

(Getty Images)
There's been a lot of discussion recently about who should man the 'hot corner' for the Red Sox in the upcoming post-season. After the Spring flop of Pablo Sandoval and the mid-summer swoon of Travis Shaw, it seemed as if duties might fall to either newly-acquired Aaron Hill or super-phenom Yoan Moncada. Well, Hill has hit poorly against righties, Moncada seems baffled by the dreaded 'Uncle Charlie', and Shaw (despite glimmers of hope to the contrary) has not really broken out of his prolonged dive. So, here's an idea—play Brock Holt at third the rest of the way and see if he can respond and win the post-season nod. Why not? Holt has had sporadic playing time since he returned from the DL, and could probably benefit from more extended work. He might just click and the problem would be solved. Marco Hernandez can offer respite to Dustin Pedroia and/or Xander Bogaerts if they need the rest. Manager John Farrell has hinted at the "Holt Solution" anyway, so let's do it!

Andrew Benintendi Is Not In Tonight's Red Sox Lineup

Here is tonight's Red Sox lineup: 1. Dustin Pedroia 2B; 2. Xander Bogaerts SS; 3. David Ortiz DH; 4. Mookie Betts RF; 5. Hanley Ramirez 1B; 6. Travis Shaw 3B; 7. Jackie Bradley Jr. CF; 8. Bryan Holaday C; 9. Brock Holt LF. On the hill tonight for The Carmine Hose is lefty Drew Pomeranz.

Orioles Come Up With Best Gift Idea For David Ortiz

No silly surfboards. No dorky cowboy hats. And, no, the Orioles did not give David Ortiz crabs (you'll pardon the expression). Instead, Baltimore gave Big Papi the most fitting gift of all: the remnants of the dugout phone he eviscerated in 2013. Brilliant. You have to believe that former Red Sox (and current Oriole) GM Dan Duquette had something to do with the idea. This long and winding road to retirement for Ortiz has been strewn with lots of good-intentioned goofiness. But, Baltimore, you came through in the clutch. And, considering that the classless Tampa organization isn't doing anything at all for Ortiz (except a dumb highlight video), the phone thing is pretty cool. Although, come to think of it, the real gift from the Orioles may have been dropping those four straight games at Camden Yards.

Red Sox Inching Closer To Glory, Sweep O's, 5-3

(AP Photo)
Eight straight wins. Two straight four-game sweeps. A 5 1/2 game lead on their closest rival with nine games to play. A Magic Number of 5 to secure an AL East Crown. These are the cluster of facts that point to a positive end to the 2016 season for your Boston Red Sox. Last night, after giving back an early lead, the team once again fought back to regain that lead in an eventual 5-3 win. David Price was not perfect (giving up a three-run lead), but he did last seven innings to pick up his 17th win. Andrew Benintendi pushed across the lead run with a two-out RBI in the fifth. The leaded was padded by a solo HR by Hanley Ramirez in the seventh. And the bullpen—maligned earlier in the season—came through again with two scoreless innings. Boston moves on to Tampa, where it can further solidify its march to a division crown.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Muddy Chicken's 2016 Secret: More Elasticity Exercises

The 'Laser Show' In Action
At age 33, Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia is having one of his best seasons. Not only is he chasing after the AL Batting Title (currently hitting.322), he's got a sick OPS (.829) and is the MLB's #3 second baseman in defensive runs saved. According to's Ken Rosenthal, the secret is an off-season regimen with old buddy Andre Ethier that stresses elasticity over weights. The result has been greater flexibility for The Laser Show—including even better first-step quickness than he had before. Ethier's candid advice to his former Arizona State teammate was blunt, "Listen, man, we're older, we've got to make an adjustment." They did, and it's made a huge difference for Pedey and the Red Sox.

VIDEO: Benintendi Goes All 'Michael Jackson' In Victory

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Clay And Benny Pace Red Sox Comeback Over O's, 5-1

(AP Photo)
Clay Buchholz pitched seven solid innings and Andrew Benintendi launched a three-run HR to vault the Red Sox past the Orioles, 5-1. Boston trailed 1-0 with two outs in the 6th inning and then erupted for five unearned runs for their seventh win in a row. An infield error let the first two runs across and then Benintendi unloaded for his second career HR. Buchholz hurled seven amazing innings—giving up just three hits and a run for his eighth win of the year. The tall Texan put himself right back in the conversation for the playoff rotation. As they have all month, the bullpen came through with another two scoreless innings. The win reduced the Magic Number to clinch the division down to six. Boston goes for its second straight four-game sweep tomorrow night.

POLL: Majority Want Porcello, Price & E-Rod In Playoffs

Very early voting in our latest FenwayNation Poll shows that a strong majority of readers (70%) think the starter trio of Rick Porcello, David Price and Eduardo Rodriguez would be the strongest for the Red Sox in the post-season. Interestingly, the second highest-rated trio of starters (21%) included the currently injured knuckle-baller Steven Wright—also paired with Porcello and Price. Just 7% would opt for a playoff combination of Porcello, Price and Clay Buchholz, while no one picked a combo with Drew Pomeranz. Some other combination besides those listed was chosen by 2% of readers casting a vote. You can still vote in the poll HERE.

PowerRankingsGuru: Sox Move Up One To Fourth

This week's rankings by The Power Rankings Guru website (which tracks and averages all of the major media rankings) shows that the Red Sox have moved up one spot this week to the #4 overall position on the list. The Cubbies stay in the #1 spot, followed by the Nationals and Rangers—then The Carmine Hose. The Red Sox come in with an average score of 3.8—and were placed as high as 3rd by some reviewers. The Indians, Dodgers, Orioles, Blue Jays, Mets and Giants round out the Top Ten. The Bronx Embalmers have moved down three spots to occupy the number fifteen position. The Twinkies are still viewed as the worst overall team in baseball. You can see all the Week Twenty-Five rankings HERE.

POLL: Best Playoff Starter Combination For Red Sox?

What should be the playoff starter combo for the Red Sox? free polls

Mookie Joins Pesky And Nomar In Rare Sox Achievement

(Getty Images)
Mookie Betts collected his 200th hit of the year last night at Camden Yards—a fitting place for the milestone since he has smoked the O's there all season long. Betts joins elite Red Sox company with the hit—becoming just the third Carmine Hoser to get a 200-hit season at the age of 23 or younger. The other two were Red Sox legends Johnny Pesky and Nomar Garciaparra. Mookie joins Nomar in another rarefied grouping as well—just five players (since WWII) have had 200 hits and 30 HRs aged 23 or less. That club includes: Mookie, Nomar, Alex Rodriguez, Vladimir Guerrero, and Albert Pujols. Have a season, why don't 'ya, kid!