Friday, July 19, 2019

Sale Is Finally Sale, 'Carita' Delivers Again, Sox Take Series From Jays, 5-0

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Chris Sale won at Fenway Park for the first time since July 11, 2018. That astounding statement was indicative of the kind of year the lefty ace has been having in 2019. On Thursday, Sale went six dominant innings—striking out 12 Blue Jays and allowing no runs on just two hits. The Boston bullpen shut down Toronto on no hits for the final three frames in the eventual 5-0 shutout win. The offense was keyed—once again—by Rafael "Don't Call Me Toro" Devers. The 22-year-old Boston third-baseman clouted a three-run home run to pad the Red Sox lead. Mookie Betts and Sandy Leon had the other RBIs. Also, a four-run rally was ignited by a Sam Travis double. The win kept Boston 10 games behind The Evil Ones—but now just two games back of the second-place Rays (who lost a double-header to The Bronx Embalmers). Boston is two out of the second AL Wild Card spot.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Rafael 'El Toro' Devers Leads The Charge As Red Sox Defeat Blue Jays, 5-4

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Rafael Devers is clearly an emerging star. The 22-year-old Red Sox third-baseman continued his torrid 2019 season be delivering a solo home run and four RBIs in Wednesday's 5-4 win over Toronto. Nicknamed "El Toro" on-air by Red Sox legend Jerry Remy (who, by the way gave David Ortiz his "Big Papi" moniker), Devers tops the majors in hardest hit balls and is closing in on the American League batting average lead. Last night he had three hits to raise his average to .326—just five points off the top. He now has 18 HRs and 70 RBIs. Eduardo Rodriguez came through with another fine start—pitching 6.1 innings and yielding just three hits and two earned runs for his 11th win of 2019. The bullpen—shakily—did the rest. Aside from Devers, other multi-hit games came from: Brock Holt (3-4), Xander Bogaerts (2-5) and Christian Vazquez (2-4). The win moved Boston to within 9.5 games of the top in the AL East—and three games out of the second American League Wild Card spot.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

FenwayNation International Editor: "The Great Home Run Ball Conspiracy"

by Mark Lawrence, International Editor

When folks first started squawking about juiced balls earlier this season, I reacted the same way I usually do when these goofy baseball conspiracy theories get started. I just called it nonsense and waved it away. But after yelling at the TV in disbelief when the Dodgers launched their 6th home run at Fenway over the weekend series, I began to think there may be something to it, after all. Hell, even as I tap out this diatribe, A.J. Pollock, popped-up – that’s right, popped up – a home run in the top of the first at Fenway. Oh, puh-lease!   

Justin Verlander, the Tabby’s best hurler since Hal Newhouser, got a little heated recently when discussing the possibility of juiced balls being in play this season: “Did they do it again? I don't flippin’ know,” said Justin - except he didn’t say ‘flipping’. “The balls don't lie. This game's been around for 125-odd years. We've had the dead-ball era. Now, we're past the live-ball era, we're in a different generation.”  

Red Sox Survive Yet More Crappy Pitching, Outlast Blue Jays, 10-8

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Rick Porcello barely held onto an early 5-0 lead and Ryan Brasier gagged away four runs late—yet Boston's offense somehow allowed for a win over Toronto, 10-8. This was a game that should have been a 'rocking chair' victory—and would have been if this were 2018. Once again, the story of this edition of The Carmine Hose is lousy pitching—from most of the starters and most of the bullpen. Rookie Michael Chavis got his first career grand slam, Andrew Benintendi knocked in three runs and Xander Bogaerts had three hits in Boston's ten-run attack. But somehow this was an unsatisfying win—over a woefully bad Blue Jay team. The victory did move Boston to within nine games of The Evil Ones—and keeps them two games out of the second Wild Card spot.

Monday, July 15, 2019

SquanderPalooza: Red Sox Gag In Extras, Fall To Dodgers In 12 Innings, 7-4

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Given multiple opportunities from the 9th inning forward, the Red Sox proved incapable of plating the winning run in an excruciating 7-4 extra-innings loss to the Dodgers. With runners in scoring position, Boston gagged away chance after chance to win the series and keep pace in the AL East. But un-timely hitting and another horror show bullpen performance by Hector Velazquez gave the game away to their 2018 World Series rivals. The Red Sox had valiantly tied the game at 4-4 in the bottom of the eighth inning—with back-to-back solo home runs by Xander Bogaerts and J.D. Martinez. But, this year's version of The Carmine Hose is just not that good—and their record shows it. Velazquez came on in the 12th inning and delivered this pitching line: 1 inning, 3 runs, 2 hits, 2 walks, error. Brilliant. Hello, Pawtucket! The loss puts Boston a full 10 games behind The Evil Ones in the AL East. Selling time at the deadline?

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Red Sox Acquire Starting Pitcher Andrew Cashner For Two Minor Leaguers

The Red Sox have made a solid move to bolster their horrific fifth starter situation. They have acquired starting pitcher Andrew Cashner from the Baltimore Orioles for two minor league players nd cash considerations. The players involved are infielder Noelberth Romero and outfielder Elio Prado. Cashner has been outstanding in his last several starts for the O's and will be a dramatic upgrade to the Black Hole Of Calcutta that has been the Boston's fifth starter situation in 2019.

E-Rod Shines Again, Lumber Emerges, Sox Dominate World Series Foes, 8-1

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Eduardo Rodriguez is still just 26 years old. Boston got him in exchange for Andrew Miller many years ago—and now it appears that transaction is really beginning to pay off. Clearly, E-Rod has pitched extremely well—on and off—in the past, but this season he is starting to round into the guy who was the #1 pitching prospect in the Orioles organization. The lefty dominated last year's National League champions on Friday night—going seven solid innings, giving up just one run on five hits and striking out ten. He was backed up by three Red Sox home runs—Rafael Devers (#17), Christian Vazquez (#15), Xander Bogaerts (#18)—in the eventual 8-1 win. These three players have really defined the Boston offense in 2019—all three near or well over the .300 mark. The trio knocked in 6 of the 8 runs—with Mookie Betts and Brock Holt getting the other two. This was a key win—over (arguably) the best team in baseball. The victory allowed Boston to stay 9 games off the pace in the AL East and just 1 game out of the second Wild Card spot.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Benny And Mookie Pace Red Sox Offense, Boston Outlasts Tabbys, 10-6

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The Red Sox are once again the highest scoring team in the AL East (503 runs)—and, this season, they've needed all the offense they can get. Last night, they again could not safely secure a game in which they had a 7-0 lead—ultimately winning 10-6. Rick Porcello had a so-so outing against his old Motown mates—going just 5.2 innings, giving up nine hits and five earned runs. He's still sporting an ERA over five (5.33). The offense was keyed by Andrew Benintendi (4-6, RBI, R) and Mookie Betts (3-5, 2 R, 2 RBIs). Both finished a home run shy of the cycle. Marco Hernandez continued his hot hitting—going 3-5, with two runs scored. He's now hitting .348. Christian Vazquez also kept up his offensive surge—going 2-5 with 2 RBIs. Brock Holt also had two hits. Boston scored their ten runs with both J.D. Martinez and Xander Bogaerts out of the lineup. The win allowed the Red Sox to creep to within 10 games of The Evil Ones. They remain two games back for the second AL Wild Card spot. One more game on Sunday before the All-Star Break.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Raffy And Bogie Homer, Red Sox Hang On For 9-6 Win In Spite Of Bullpen

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As manager Alex Cora said after the game, the Red Sox make their wins too difficult. Up 6-1, the bullpen again gave up the lead, but Boston held on by scoring three more times for an eventual 9-6 win. Emerging super-star Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts both homered—combining to drive in 6 of the 9 runs. Mookie Betts (3-4) and Jackie Bradley, Jr. (2-4) had the other RBIs. Eduardo Rodriguez pitched a solid five innings, before the rains came. The lefty gave up just one earned run on four hits to gain his ninth win of the year. The Red Sox bullpen gave up a total of five earned runs in another pathetic performance. The win keeps Boston 11 games back of The Evil Ones—and just 3.5 games behind second-place Tampa. The Red Sox remain two games behind for the second AL Wild Card playoff spot.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Red Sox Rally From 6-1 Deficit, Come Back To Beat Blue Jays, 8-7

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Once again, it was looking like another bleak loss north of the border. But, down by five runs, the Red Sox rallied to score six times in the sixth inning—capped by a go-ahead home run by Michael Chavis. After the bullpen blew another lead, Marco Hernandez nailed a pinch-hit ninth-inning home run to put Boston ahead to stay—on the way to an eventual 8-7 victory. This one was another case of Boston's fifth starter being a total disaster—as Hector Velasquez went 2.1 innings, giving up three earned runs. Clearly, Boston's offense is not the problem—but pitching at every level has pretty much stunk all year. Other contributors to the offense on Independence Day were: Rafael Devers (2-3, 2 R, RBI, HR) and J.D. Martinez (3-4, R, RBI). Brandon Workman got his eighth win of the year—after blowing a save. The win keeps the Red Sox a distant 11 games in back of The Evil Ones—and just 5 games over .500.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

"Absolutely Embarrassing" Loss To Pathetic Blue Jays, Sox And Sale Fall, 6-3

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Chris Sale said it all: "I know who I am and who I'm supposed to be for this team, and I haven't been anything close. I'm 3-8; that's absolutely embarrassing." Indeed. Boston and Sale squandered early 2-0 and 3-1 leads and ended up losing to a really bad Toronto team, 6-3. The lanky lefty gave up three home runs in the loss—and is now sporting a 4.04 ERA on the year. Red-hot Rafael Devers got things going with a two-run double in the third inning, but the only other offense came on a Christian Vazquez solo home run. The Red Sox are now just four games over .500 and sit 11 full games back of The Evil Ones. The question now isn't who should the Red Sox acquire at the trade deadline—it's who they should dump. This is one of the most disappointing years in recent memory—from a roster that is essentially the same as last year's World Series Champions (except, of course, for the closer).

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

RaffyPalooza: Devers Drives In Six Runs, Red Sox Win 10-6 In America Lite

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Rafael Devers did not make the American League All-Star squad. You might think that his offensive outburst on Tuesday night in Toronto was a statement to the All-Star voters and the overall selection process. But this is Raffy—the 22-year-old wunderkind who seems to simply enjoy life and hitting, not unlike another Carmine Hoser of the past: Manny Ramirez. Devers went 4-5 last night, with 6 RBIs and 2 runs scored. Smiling all the way, he elevated his batting average to .329 and is now slugging .548. His two home runs give him 14 on the year—when it seemed early on in the season that he would never go yard. Devers is emerging as the new superstar on this ballclub—eclipsing almost everyone else. His defense is improving daily and he is simply a hitting machine. He will be fun to watch for many years to come. As for the game itself, David Price pitched well again—going six solid innings and giving up just two runs on four hits. The bullpen was porous again—yielding four earned runs in just three innings of work. But, luckily, Devers provided enough punch to overcome the 'pen and Boston ended up winning 10-6. The victory pulled the Red Sox to within 10 games of The Evil Ones—who were beaten by The Metropolitans, 4-2.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Red Sox Suffer Two Defeats To Empire In Humiliating Lost Weekend In UK

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Well, let's hope there was some residual positive effect on the game of baseball overall. Because, for Red Sox fans, The 2019 London Series was an embarrassing disaster. Pushed to 11 games behind The Evil Ones by the cartoonish 17-13 and 12-8 defeats, Boston fans are debating whether their team (just four games over .500) should be buyers or sellers at the Trade Deadline—just 30 days away. The one incontrovertible fact is that the Red Sox bullpen is completely inept. The inability to secure a true closer—Craig Kimbrel or someone else—has had a cascading effect on the relief corps. Overworked and under-talented, they have presented manager Alex Cora with a (Butch) Hobson's Choice all season long. Being humiliated on an international stage is no way to sustain a fan base. The natives were already restless, they are now becoming mutinous. There is one culprit here: Dave Dombrowski.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Bogie And Raffy Lead Offense, Price Shines, Red Sox Beat Pale Hose, 6-3

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Rafael Devers went 4-4 (with three doubles) and Xander Bogaerts hit the game-winning home run as the Red Sox ended the first half of the 2019 season with a 6-3 win over the White Sox. David Price pitched six solid innings for his fifth win of the year—striking out nine Pale Hosers, walking none and giving up just two earned runs. The bullpen delivered three shutout innings to seal the victory. The offense was also aided by Christian Vazquez (1-4, 2 RBIs)—who is now hitting .290 with 30 RBIs. The win allowed Boston to keep pace with The Evil Ones at 8 games back. The Red Sox are now seven games over .500—and just two games out of second place. After today's matinee at Fenway, the Red Sox wing their way across the pond to face The Bronx Embalmers over the weekend in London.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Marco Hernández Walk-Off Single In Ninth Lifts Boston Over Pale Hose, 6-5

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It was looking like yet another bleak Fenway loss to a Quadruple A ballclub. The Red Sox seemed to be trailing in Monday night's contest at every turn—2-0, 2-1, 3-2, 5-3, 5-4. Then, after tying the game at five in the eighth, it was Marco Hernández (who had come in as a pinch-runner earlier) that delivered the ninth-inning walk-off hit in the eventual 6-5 Boston win. The Red Sox scored single runs in the 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th to gain the win. Eduardo Rodriguez went six forgettable innings—giving up five earned runs (including two rocket home runs). But the tortoise-like offense came back with a "slow and steady" response, paced by solo HRs by Jackie Bradley, Jr. (#8) and Mookie Betts (#13). Also contributing on the offensive side were: Andrew Benintendi (2 doubles, R), Eduardo Nunez (2-4, 2 RBI), Michael Chavis (1-3, RBI) and Xander Bogaerts (2-4). The much-maligned (and deservedly so) bullpen delivered 2.2 scoreless innings. The win kept the Red Sox eight games behind The Evil Ones in the AL East.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Christian Vazquez Walks-Off Red Sox In 10th, Beat Blue Jays, 7-5

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Early on, this one looked like a really bad loss to a clearly inferior ball club. Then, the Red Sox made a steady comeback to tie the game at 5-5 in the eighth inning. A shaky Chris Sale start had put Boston behind the eight-ball, but the benighted bullpen came to the rescue. The winning blow was a 10th-inning 2-out, 2-run home run by Christian Vazquez—resulting in the eventual 7-5 Red Sox win. Multiple-hit games were turned in by: J.D. Martinez (3-5), Andrew Benintendi (2-4) and Michael Chavis (2-5). Five Boston relievers went five innings—giving up just one earned run. The win kept Boston 7.0 games behind The Evil Ones and just 2.5 back of second-place Tampa.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Red Sox Take Series From Twinkies, ERod Goes Seven In 9-4 Boston Win

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Eduardo Rodriguez knew what he had to do on Wednesday night—go deep in the game to save the tattered bullpen. In the previous night's 17-inning loss, the relievers were stretched to the limit and could not be used extensively. So, ERod delivered seven pretty good (but not great) innings, while his offense provided 9 runs on 12 hits in the eventual 9-4 win. The offense was keyed by: Brock Holt (1-3, 3 RBIs); Michael Chavis (2-5, 2 RBIs)—with Mookie BettsJ.D. Martinez, Andrew Benintendi and Xander Bogaerts each chipping in with an one RBI apiece. The win keeps the Red Sox 6.5 games behind The Evil Ones in the AL East—and now just three games behind the second place Rays. Boston has Thursday off and begins a weekend series Friday against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Rick Porcello Fires Gem, Offense Gives Just Enough, Sox Beat Twinkies, 2-0

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After playing the 'Quadruple A' Orioles, the Red Sox moved on to the team with the best record in baseball—the Minnesota Twins. Their Lee County Spring Training neighbors have combined a resurgent offense with great starting pitching to dominate the AL Central this year. So, all Rick Porcello did was fire seven shutout innings—yielding just four hits and striking out eight. The former Cy Young winner pushed his record to 5-6 and lowered his ERA to 4.31. The bullpen delivered two innings of scoreless relief—against a very good offensive lineup in the eventual 2-0 shutout win. The hitting stars were J.D.Martinez and Xander Bogaerts—each 2-4 with an RBI. The win kept the Red Sox 5.5 games behind The Evil Ones in the AL East.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Red Sox Hang On By Fingernails In Wacky, 8-6 Win Over Hapless Orioles

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This was one of the oddest games of 2019. For most of the contest, both teams seemed to be sleepwalking through a tedious slog of a game. Then, finally, the Red Sox nudged ahead, 2-1 and held that lead until Baltimore scored twice in the bottom of the eighth inning. Yikes! It was looking like another pathetic loss to a crappy team—thanks to an equally crappy Red Sox bullpen. Then, the unheralded Marco Hernandez (once a top prospect) clouted a one-out solo home run to knot the game at 3-3. In the tenth, Boston seemed to salt away the victory—scoring five times (including a Rafael Devers HR). But, here came the bullpen again—this time in the form of Josh "Not-Ready-For-Prime-Time" Smith. Bingo—Baltimore scores three times on two home runs. Thankfully, this one was finally put to bed (8-6) after four hours and forty-four minutes! The win keeps Boston 5.5 back in the AL East—as they head to the wide-open prairie to face the Twinkies.