Monday, April 24, 2017

Sox P Matt Barnes Fined And Suspended Four Games

Matt Barnes has been fined and suspended by MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred for four games. The relief pitcher is appealing the decision. Barnes will continue pitching while his appeal is heard. The big right-hander threw a pitch near the head of Baltimore's Manny Machado a day after Machado spiked Dustin Pedroia on a play at second base. Stay tuned.

Benintendi In Elite Company Of Cronin And Conigliaro

Benintendi
With his 5-5 performance on Sunday in Baltimore, Andrew Benintendi became the youngest player (age 22) since Joe Cronin to achieve that feat. Hall of Famer Cronin did it in 1929 for the Washington Senators—before he joined the Carmine Hose. The last Red Sox player to go 5-5 was Tony Conigliaro. In April of 1967—just four months before being beaned by Jack Hamilton—Tony C. went 5-5 against (who else?) the Yankees. The last player to go 5-5 was Royals first-baseman Eric Hosmer, who did it six years ago in 2011. Benintendi—a strong candidate for AL Rookie Of The Year—is now hitting .347, with a .415 on-base percentage.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Forget The Empire, Red Sox Beat New Rival O's, 6-2

(AP Photo)
Not since the completion of the transcontinental railroad has a spike had so much impact. Manny Machado's spiking of Dustin Pedroia has set off a spiral or reprisal that could get real nasty before it gets better. Today, with the Red Sox "comfortably" ahead 6-0, Matt Barnes unleashed a pitch very close to Machado's head—that ironically only hit his bat for a strike. But the bad blood began to boil again. This sideshow overshadow the re-emergence of Boston's power offense, as they launched three HRs in the eventual 6-2 win. Mookie Betts (3-run HR), Hanley Ramirez and Mitch Moreland (both solo shots) accounted for five of the six runs—and Andrew Benintendi had the other RBI in the midst of his monster 5-5 game. Eduardo Rodriguez pretty much shut down his old club—going six solid innings, giving up just one hit and striking out seven (although he also walked five).

Red Sox 'Knuckle-Under' To Baltimore Again, Lose, 4-2

(AP Photo)
Just when you thought it was safe to watch the knuckleball again—bang—you're brought back to reality. Thanks to a monster two-run HR by Jackie Bradley, Jr., the Red Sox were enjoying a blissful lead. Even the NESN guys were speculating that Steven Wright might have his mojo back. Wrong! Four runs later, Boston was again on their treadmill to offensive oblivion—eventually losing 4-2 to the Orioles. Said Wright of his signature pitch, "It's not really moving. I am trying to get the violence back into the pitch." We'll even accept a little mild anger. Boston faces the real possibility of a sweep to the O's—who, believe it or not, own the best record in baseball.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Red Sox-O's In Rain Delay; Muddy Chicken Not Starting

Muddy Chicken Injured In Punch-Less 2-0 Loss to O's

(AP Photo)
UPDATE: 'I don't need a f********* rule'—Pedey
At some point this offense has got to go from hitting for high average to actually scoring runs. Last night, they mustered just six hits in a 2-0 loss to the Orioles—wasting a good (although way-too-high a pitch count) performance from Drew Pomeranz. Much more important than the game result is the likelihood that the team's heart and soul—Dustin Pedroia—may be lost for a time after being spiked by Manny Machado in the eighth inning. Stay tuned.

Friday, April 21, 2017

New Balance's Sox-Themed Shoes Are Wicked Awesome

The good people at New Balance have given FenwayNation the opportunity of trying out their new Red Sox-themed, limited-edition Fresh Foam Zante v3 Ballpark shoe. The new lightweight running shoe features an aggressive toe spring, a comfortable no-sew material application for a sleek fit and Boston-inspired insoles and outsoles. Specifically, "BOS" and "TON" on the outsoles, and a replica of a vintage Red Sox ticket on the insoles. Very cool. Now, for our non-technical review: they are wicked comfortable. As soon as you put these puppies on, they seem to conform to your feet like they were custom-made. As with all athletic shoes, you should probably get them about a half-size bigger than regular shoes—although that varies by person. These shoes are truly lightweight—and thus great for running or just schlepping around town (as we will mostly use them). The bottom line is you can be stylish and comfortable in these new shoes—and you can represent your home town in all those remote regions outside of 495. You can find out more information on the Fresh Foam Zante v3 Ballpark shoes—and even buy them— HERE.

Seven Of Next Thirteen Red Sox Games Against Orioles

In two weeks time, we may know a lot more about the 2017 Carmine Hose—and the nature of the AL East race. Starting tonight, seven of the next thirteen Red Sox games will be against the Baltimore Orioles. The O's have been a bit of a surprise so far—sitting atop the division with a 10-4 record. While it's early, they've been a good road team—going 6-3 so far away from Camden Yards. One of their unexpected heroes is Trey "Don't Call Me Henry" Mancini—who leads the team with 4 HRs. Catcher Wellington Castillo leads the team in hitting with a .326 average—and Adam Jones is (as usual) just plain consistently good on both sides of the ball. Dylan Bundy and old friend Wade Miley have been the best starters—although the mercurial Ubaldo Jimenez has been better of late as well. This next stretch of games—especially against the Birds—may be very telling.

REPORT: Craig Kimbrel Dealt With Finger Problem In '16

(USAToday Sports)
According to Rob Bradford of WEEI.com, Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel was dealing with more than a knee injury in his first Boston season. Before he went down with knee surgery, he suffered an injury to his right index finger—sometime in late April of 2016. While the public didn't know about the injury, the team coaching and medical staff were aware of it. During the rehab period for his knee, he worked to make sure that his healing finger was not causing bad mechanical habits. Despite this, he did admit that there were times that the finger made him "yank the ball" because of release point issues.

Former Red Sox Pitcher Gary Peters Turns 80 Today

Gary Peters
In the far distant past—when most World Series rings were still minted in New York—Gary Peters pitched three years for the Red Sox. While he made his reputation pitching 11 seasons for the Other Hose in Chicago, he came to Boston at age 33—with something still left in the tank. He had two outstanding years for The Carmine Hose—winning 16 games in 1970 and 14 in 1971. Both seasons, Boston finished in third place—under the 'brilliant' managerial reign of Eddie Kasko. But Peters did his part (including 19 RBIs in 1971). Today, he turns 80 years old—Happy birthday, Gary!

Bogaerts Is 'Day-To-Day' After Injuring Thumb In Slide

Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts is 'day-to-day' after injuring his left thumb on a slide into second base yesterday—after knocking in the go-ahead run in the 9th inning. After the game, he underwent tests on the thumb, but they were inconclusive enough that he may miss some time. Stay tuned.

Travis Shaw Has Two Fewer HRs Than Red Sox Team

Maybe someday, Tyler Thornburg will pitch for the Red Sox and we can gauge the trade that sent Travis Shaw to Milwaukee to get him. Right now, it's seems pretty imbalanced. Shaw is on an extra-base tear for The Brew Crew, despite hitting just .254. So far, he has five home runs, seven doubles and a triple in sixteen games. The entire Red Sox team has 7 HRs so far. His three-run HR last night propelled the Brewers to a 7-5 win. His 458-foot monster shot to RF is the 4th-longest by a Brewer in the 'Statcast™' era and the eighth-longest by any player since 2015. Impressive.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Chris Sale Sues For Non-Support, Sox Win Anyway, 4-1

(AP Photo)
Someday, the Boston Red Sox will score runs for Chris Sale. That day has not yet arrived. The Boston lefty twirled eight shutout innings today—striking out thirteen Jays—and came away with a no decision. He was in line for the "W", as Xander Bogaerts delivered a clutch, two-out RBI single in the top of the ninth, putting Boston up, 1-0. Then, on his second pitch of the bottom of the ninth inning, "closer" Craig Kimbrel coughed up a game-tying HR. In the 10th, the heroics fell to Mookie Betts—who had previously struck out twice in the game. Betts ripped a two-out double down the left-field line that scored three runs. Kimbrel came back out in the 10th to nail down the win, 4-1.