Monday, August 20, 2018

Ian Kinsler Is Back In the Red Sox Line-Up At 2B Tonight, Brock Holt At 3B

Here is tonight's Red Sox line-up: Mookie Betts, RF; Andrew Benintendi, LF; Mitch Moreland, 1B; J.D. Martinez, DH; Xander Bogaerts, SS; Ian Kinsler, 2B; Brock Holt, 3B; Sandy Leon, C; Jackie Bradley Jr., CF. On the mound tonight for The Carmine Hose will be Rick Porcello.

Don't Start Celebrating Just Yet—As 'Tito's Tribe' Comes Into Town For Four

As ridiculously good as the Red Sox are playing, one hiccup yesterday resulted in a full game being shaved off their lead. Sure, 9.5 games is a big margin to work with—but there is a lot of season left, including six more tilts with The Evil Ones. With the most dangerous team in the American League (Tito's Tribe) coming to town for four games, and the Yankees (despite their injuries) seemingly incapable of losing, things could change very quickly in the division. Most of the Red Sox media seem to be handing The Carmine Hose the AL East title on a silver platter—it's a fool's errand. Those of us who are old enough have seen bigger leads evaporate (1978, 2011) and are not at all assuming a division crown. Whether or not the 'Sale-free' Red Sox can take this series from the Indians will tell us a lot about how this race will ultimately play out. Be careful. To paraphrase Pulp Fiction's Winston Wolfe—don't start polishing up the Duck Boats just yet.

POLL: Readers Are Divided On Impact Of Sam Adams Chairman's Comments

Further voting in our latest FenwayNation Poll shows that readers are literally divided down the middle on the impact of comments made by Sam Adams Chairman Jim Koch—thanking President Trump for recent tax cuts. As the chart shows, exactly the same percentage (38%) say they are "more likely" and "less likely" to buy Sam Adams beer based on the comments. In addition, about one-quarter of readers (24%) say Koch's comments make "no difference" to their purchase of Sam Adams beer. You can still vote in the poll HERE.

POLL: Most Say They'll Drink Less Sam Adams After Chairman's Comments

Very early voting in our latest FenwayNation Poll shows that a plurality of readers (40%) would be less likely to buy Sam Adams beer based on the comments of the company's Chairman—thanking President Trump for the recent tax cuts. As the table shows, one-third of our readers (33%) say the comments would make them more likely to buy Sam Adams—while 27% say the comments would make no difference in their decision of whether or not to buy Sam Adams beer. You can still vote in the poll HERE.

POLL: Impact Of Sam Adams Chairman's Comments On Beer Purchases

As you know, Sam Adams beer is a major corporate sponsor of the Red Sox. A couple of weeks ago, Sam Adams Chairman Jim Koch thanked the President for the recent tax cuts. Does knowing this make you more likely to buy Sam Adams beer, less likely, or doesn't it make any difference to you?
 
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'Raiders Of Lost Offense' Make Return Trip To Fenway As Rays 2-Hit Red Sox

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The Red Sox lost to a guy (Jalen Beeks) that they just traded away for Nathan Eovaldi—in a humiliating 2-0 shutout at Fenway yesterday (with Boston managing just two hits). Beeks went four innings (in a typical Tampa "bullpen" merry-go-round)—shitting down the MLB's most potent offense on just one hit. Andrew Benintendi and Xander Bogaerts were the only Red Sox to hit safely—wasting a pretty good p[itching performance by emergency starter Hector Velazquez (4 IP, 1 ER). The Rays' two runs came of dual solo blasts—one off Velazquez and one off Matt Barnes. The loss cut Boston's lead in the AL East to 9.5 games. Starting tonight, Tito's Tribe come in to Fenway for a four-game set.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Billy Beane Again Has Low-Budget Athletics In The Hunt For The Post-Season

After the 2002 season, Red Sox principal owner John Henry offered Oakland GM Billy Beane $12.5 million to become Boston's chief baseball honcho. Beane's A's had just made history by winning 20 straight games during the 2002 season. Beane turned down the offer from the derivatives magnate and stayed in Oakland. Over his tenure, a small-budget franchise—in a crappy football stadium with an even worse fan-base—has consistently performed above expectations. This year, Beane's A's have matched the Red Sox juggernaut since June 16th (each team was 38-13 coming into this weekend). Just yesterday, Oakland caught the World Champion Astros—and are now tied for the lead in the AL West. Beane had famously used what Hollywood has called "Moneyball" to create the magic of winning without resources, by focusing on research and analytics. His example has pretty much overtaken all of baseball—for better or worse. As Beane has put it, "It's all about evaluating skills and putting a price on them. Thirty years ago, stockbrokers used to buy stock strictly by feel. Let's put it this way: Anyone in the game with a 401(k) has a choice. They can choose a fund manager who manages their retirement by gut instinct, or one who chooses by research and analysis. I know which way I'd choose." As Boston's post-season comes closer and closer, they may be running into the path of the red-hot A's on their way to The Fall Classic.

Price Wins 13th With Seven Solid Innings, J.D. Hammers, Sox Win Again, 5-2

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Since the All-Star Break, David Price has truly been the guy we went out and got in 2016. The lefty is 3-0 with a 1.35 ERA. Last night, he went seven solid innings, striking out eight—while yielding just two runs on five hits. With Chris Sale on the DL again, it's even more important that Price perform this well. Boston scored four runs in the first inning—aided by an error—to take control early in an eventual 5-2 win. Mitch Moreland (RBI double) started the scoring, and another run came in on a bases-loaded walk. Boston only managed four hits on the day—with Andrew Benintendi the only player with more than one (2-4, R). But one other hit was J.D. Martinez's MLB-leading 38th homerun. Ryan Brasier pitched a clean eighth inning, while Craig Kimbrel make quick work of the Rays in the ninth for his 37th save. The win kept Boston's lead n the American League East at 10.5 games.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Red Sox Ace Chris Sale Is Back On The Disabled List With Shoulder Issues

Apparently, there was just too much good stuff going on with the 2018 version of The Carmine Hose. Fifty-one games over .500, 10.5 games ahead of the Evil Empire, two legitimate MVP candidates. Then, we learn that Boston's ace, Chris Sale, has landed back on the disabled list with the same left-shoulder inflammation that made his miss one start earlier this year. Sale, just off his previous DL-stint had delivered five brilliant innings last Sunday—striking out twelve. This stint is retroactive to August 15th. Sale leads the American League in ERA—and all of MLB in strikeouts per nine innings and opponent batting average. It's unclear whether the lanky lefty will have MRI done on his shoulder—which was not done during his last stay on the disabled list. Stay tuned, this is really bad news for the Red Sox.

Red Sox Legend Tim Wakefield Surprises Marshalls Shoppers With Free Tix

Wake And Shopper
It was a really lucky day for several shoppers yesterday afternoon at the Marshalls store near Fenway Park. Not only did they get a chance to meet Red Sox pitching legend Tim Wakefield, but—for the exceptionally lucky ones—the knuckle-balling, two-time World Series champ handed them free tickets to last night's Red Sox win. FenwayNation was lucky enough to cover the event, and also had a chance to interview Wake. We asked him about the resurgent season by his teammate of five years, Clay Buchholz. Said Wakefield, "Sometimes guys re-create themselves, it happened to me when I left Pittsburgh. I couldn't get people out at AAA, so I re-invented myself and I got here (Boston)—and continued to try and re-invent myself every year. If I had a bad year, I had to figure it out, it's a game of adjustments. He (Buchholz) has made those adjustments and done a great job with it. Incredible guy, incredible stuff." Buchholz is 6-2, with a 2.47 ERA this season for Arizona. In Tim's 17 years with the Red Sox, he won 186 games—and pitched over 3,000 innings. And, as most fans know, there isn't a better person to represent baseball or the Red Sox than Tim Wakefield. His charitable efforts off the field (mostly without fanfare) are legendary. It was a privilege to speak with Wake yesterday and to see how fans of all ages still love the guy.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Bogie Goes On Tear, Triples And Doubles Twice, Red Sox Get 87th Win, 7-3

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Xander Bogaerts, who has had a resurgent 2018, doubled twice and had a toe-run triple in Boston 87th win of the year—a 7-3 drubbing of the Rays. Boston fell behind early, as starter Brian Johnson coughed up three runs in the first inning. The lefty found his sea legs, though, and ended up going 5.2 solid innings and getting his fourth win of the year. The Boston bullpen performed well tonight—with four relievers going 3.1 scoreless innings. Other key offensive contributors were: Mitch Moreland (2-4, R, go-ahead RBI); J.D. Martinez (1-3, 2 R, RBI, BB) and Jackie Bradley, Jr. (2-4, RBI). JBJ also made two more spectacular defensive plays in the field. Mookie Betts scored a run to reach the 100 mark—in mid-August. The Boston victory—coupled with a wimp-out, truncated rain-out "win" by The Evil Ones—keeps the Red Sox lead at 10.5 games in the division.

Ex-Red Sox Prospect Casey Kelly Starts Tonight For Giants In Cincinnati

Kelly with Sox fan in 2009
In 2010, Casey Kelly was part of the big trade with the Padres that brought Adrian Gonzalez to the Red Sox. People tend to remember the other guy in the transaction—some kid named Anthony Rizzo. But, at the time, Kelly was a prized pitching prospect in the Boston organization—who also had aspirations as a position player. Kelly (now 28) was traded to the Braves in 2015, after years of injury issues in the San Diego organization. Anyway, tonight, Kelly will get the start for his new team against the Reds in Cincinnati. Amazingly, his Dad Pat Kelly is the bench coach for the Reds—so this will be a sort of re-enactment of the Farrell family reunion that happened just ten months ago in the same ballpark. Back then, Reds reliever Luke Farrell made an 9th-inning appearance against his Dad John Farrell's ballcub. With an injury to San Francisco's Dereck Rodriguez, Kelly gets the Friday start. We hope Kelly enjoys success with his new chance to pitch in The Show.

Red Sox AAA Franchise Set To Move To Worcester, Massachusetts From RI

According to multiple reports, officials from the City of Worcester and the Pawtucket Red Sox will today announce the relocation of the AAA franchise from Pawtucket, Rhode Island to the central Massachusetts city. Since 1973, the top minor-league franchise of the Boston Red Sox has played in Pawtucket's McCoy Stadium. Nicknamed the "PawSox", the new location will re-brand the team as the "WooSox". Team officials—including former Red Sox President Larry Lucchino—have been spotted recently scouting out potential stadium sites in downtown Worcester. There is still a period ahead which will necessitate a specific funding plan (team versus public-sector commitments) and various governmental approvals. But, essentially, the deal is done. Once the move is made official this afternoon, two of the three top farm teams of the Red Sox will be located in their home state, with the WooSox joining the Single A Lowell Spinners. The Double A franchise (the "SeaDogs") is located in Portland, Maine (which before 1820, was Massachusetts anyway).

Ex-Red Sox Clay Buchholz Dazzles Again In Complete-Game Win For D'backs

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Since mid-April, we've been keeping you posted on the rejuvenated career of former Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz. He has been steadily contributing to the play-off run of the Arizona Diamondbacks—who are now in first place in the NL West. Last night, Buchholz delivered a complete-game five-hitter in Arizona's 5-1 victory. The tall, lanky Texas right-hander struck out six San Diego Padres and walked none in his nine innings of work—lowering his ERA to 2.47 on the year. He's now 6-2, and a key factor as Arizona tries to build on its division lead on Colorado (1.5 games) and the Dodgers (2 games). So far, Buchholz has started 12 games—giving up just 62 hits in 73 innings of work. He's walked 16 and struck out 60 batters over that span. Clearly, he is fully recovered from the multiple maladies that had plagued him throughout his career. How ironic would it be if Clay was standing on the Fenway mound again this October—in different laundry?

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Red Sox Lead Balloons To 10.5 Games As Evil Ones Choke Again In Bronx

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The Tampa Bay Rays just took two of three from the vaunted Bronx Embalmers at their home mausoleum. On a beautiful afternoon at The Concrete Bunker On 161st Street, the Yankees failed to cash in on numerous opportunities—including a bases-loaded and none out situation in the 9th—falling to the Rays, 3-1. The Empire loss pushed Boston's lead in the AL East to 10.5 games—as the Red Sox are idle on Thursday. Perhaps the highlight of the game was a Giancarlo Stanton phantom 2-run-HR that was overruled as a double. Perfect. The pesky Rays opened the game with four straight hits of fake-ace Masahiro Tanaka—whose ERA is now 4.03. All in all, it was a splendid outcome in Baghdad-By-The-Hudson.

Red Sox And Eovaldi Blow Three-Run Lead, Bullpen Melts Again In 7-4 Loss

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This was a game that the juggernaut Red Sox should have won. Taking an early 3-0 lead on a bases-clearing double by (previously ice-cold) Mitch Moreland should have been the catalyst to put away the staggering Phillies. But Nathan Eovaldi immediately coughed up the lead, then the porous Boston bullpen gave the game away once again in the late innings. Both Joe Kelly and Drew Pomeranz were just plain lousy—putting the cap on the eventual 7-4 loss. Hey, Dave Dombrowski, get a damn bullpen arm now. Aside from Moreland, only Brock Holt (2-3, R) and pinch-hitter Mookie Betts (1-1, RBI) had solid offensive nights. Thankfully, The Evil Ones also lost, so the lead in the AL East stays at ten games.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Mookie Betts Is Out Of The Red Sox Lineup On Wednesday Against Phillies

Here is tonight's Red Sox line-up in Philly: Andrew Benintendi LF; Brock Holt 2B; Mitch Moreland 1B; J.D. Martinez RF; Xander Bogaerts SS; Jackie Bradley Jr. CF; Rafael Devers 3B; Sandy Leon C. On the mound for Boston tonight is Nathan Eovaldi.