Sunday, August 28, 2016

Pedey And Xander Lead Red Sox Past KC Royals, 8-3

(AP Photo)
On the way to the bathroom, Dustin Pedroia heard on TV that he was on verge of making MLB history. He had 11 straight hits over the last three games and could—in his next at-bat—tie the all-time record (held by three others, including former Red Sox Walt Dropo and Mike 'Pinky' Higgins). Unfortunately, The Laser Show swiped at the first pitch and grounded into a double-play in that final at-bat. However, his team won a big game—8-3 over the Royals. Boston's offense was paced by The Muddy Chicken's four hits and Xander Bogaerts' Monster two-run HR over everything to put the team up early, 2-0. Mookie Betts and Hanley Ramirez added back-to-back solo HRs to add to the drubbing of the previously hot Royals. David Price again used his full arsenal of pitches to deliver six solid innings—giving up just two earned runs. The win allows the Red Sox to keep pace with Toronto—one game out of first.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Wrong 'Wright' Off The Bat, Red Sox Lose To KC, 6-3

(AP Photo)
Maybe it was the heat, or the humidity that did Steven Wright in last night in the first inning—but more likely it was just the hot Kansas City bats. In any event, the game was pretty much over before most fans squeezed their 21st-century posteriors into Fenway's early 20th-century seats. Down 5-0 after one, Boston's offense again squandered multiple opportunities to score on Ian "Don't Call Me John Fitzgerald" Kennedy, ultimately losing, 6-3. The 'highlights' of the night were Mookie Betts recording the first 5-5 night of his career and Dustin Pedroia getting four hits. But apparently fifteen hits just isn't enough to push runs across—with the The Carmine Hose leaving twelve on base.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Sox Dodge A Bullet On Benintendi: Knee Sprain Only

Great news out of Fenway this afternoon, as further tests determined that Andrew Benintendi suffered a knee sprain—but no apparent ligament or structural damage. This mean that his return before the end of the year is likely. This is probably the best possible scenario to come out the scary incident the other night.

Brock Holt Starts In Left Field Tonight For The Red Sox

Here is tonight's Red Sox lineup: Dustin Pedroia 2B; Xander Bogaerts SS; David Ortiz DH; Mookie Betts RF; Hanley Ramirez 1B; Sandy Leon C; Jackie Bradley, Jr. CF; Travis Shaw 3B; Brock Holt LF. On the hill tonight for The Carmine Hose will be Steven Wright.

As Final Month Approaches, Red Sox Glass Is 'Half-Full'

Way back on April 4th, if we had told you that the 2016 Carmine Hose would be tied for first place in the AL East on the cusp of September, you'd be pretty darned ecstatic. Well, guess what, that's exactly where they are. Even with a disappointing end to the 11-game Road Trip From Hell, they emerged on the other end still very much in contention. By any reasonable measure, that's a good thing. Back on March 31st, we displayed an uncharacteristically rosy view of this year's team. Basically, we predicted they'd nab the 'Second Wild Card'. Specifically, here's how we put it: "In spite of all these concerns, we project an 86-88 win campaign—which should (just barely) squeak them into the second AL Wild Card spot. The Blue Jays' sick line-up should propel them to another AL East crown, so it's slim pickings for the rest of the division. Boston should be at least a smidgen better than Tampa, Baltimore and The Evil Ones—so we've got a shot at the post-season. Don't expect a juggernaut, or a repeat of the 2013 Miracle. Be content with a talented, competitive and (mostly) young team. Hey, it beats last place." Not a bad prognostication for a bunch of amateurs!

Daniel Bard's Nightmare Continues In Cardinals System

(AP Photo)
The very sad story of Daniel Bard unfortunately continues. Now in the St. Louis Cardinals minor-league system, the fire-balling righty is still unable to find the success he enjoyed in his set-up role for Jonathan Papelbon while a member of the Red Sox. His abortive conversion to starting pitcher seems to have put a hex on his relief performances ever since. Wildness has been the biggest problem for Bard, who has allowed six earned runs on two hits, six walks, and three hit batsmen in a total of one inning of work since August 12th. This harkens back to his horrific 2014 performance in the Rangers minor-league chain, when he actually complied a 175.50 ERA over just two-thirds of an inning. He gave up no hits in that Ranger stint—although he walked nine batters and hit seven. The Cubbies, Rangers, Pirates and Cardinals have all been unable to re-capture Bard's effectiveness. Hopefully, some team, someday, will.

'Wright' On Time, Knuckleballer Returns To Face Royals

Wright (L) And Wright (R)
For a big part of this season—before Rick Porcello emerged as the #1 ace—Steven Wright was the most consistent Boston starter. Even during a bad stretch of pitching in July, he went 4-0 in six starts. It's been that kind of year for the soon-to-be 32-year-old (13-5, 3.01 ERA), who is no longer confused with the Boston-based comic of the same name (although, amazingly, the knuckleballer also has a seashell collection scattered across the world's beaches). Anyway, Wright is back from the DL (a stint caused by John Farrell's bizarre decision to use him as a pinch-runner) and he will start tonight at Fenway against the Royals. It is a welcome return.

Which Story Will Break First: Papelbon Or Benintendi?

Two stories that have serious implications for the 2016 Red Sox seem to be hanging in limbo this morning. Long after his '24-hour' decision window, Jonathan Papelbon has still not decided which new team he will choose—if any. And, with 'inconclusive' results from Andrew Benintendi's first MRI, he's in Boston today for 'further' testing—making the eventual outcome scarier by the minute. Given the team's relative "Cone Of Silence" on these issues, Red Sox fans are left biting their nails on two critical fronts: the fate of their bullpen and the health of their exciting young rookie phenom. Get Maxwell Smart on the horn.

Initial MRI On Andrew Benintendi Termed 'Inconclusive'

One of the last things you want to hear from a physician is that your tests were "inconclusive". Unfortunately, Andrew Benintendi heard just that regarding the MRI on his left knee. Anything other than "It's fine, kid, go out there and play" has got to be a little scary for the 22-year old LF. On Friday, he will have more tests done in Boston. As Manager John Farrell put it, "Our doctors want to get him back to a full exam with Dr. Asnis. Hopefully, when I [next] speak to you all there will be a little more information on this." For his part, Benintendi remained positive, "The more I walk on it, the better it feels." Stay tuned for an update on Friday afternoon before the start of tonight's game.

Is GOOGLE Predicting A Return Of Braves To Boston?

OK, we know the Braves stink this year (they've already lost 81 games), but do they reek enough to force a re-location back to their original roots in Boston? Well, apparently, GOOGLE thinks so. If you enter "Atlanta Arizona Score" into the "search engine of choice", up comes an interesting result: The Boston Red Caps beat the Arizona Diamondbacks last night 3-1. Now, in 1876, when the franchise joined the new National League, the team was briefly known as the 'Red Caps'—switching from the 'Red Stockings" to avoid confusion with the Cincinnati 'Red Legs".  Got it? Still, for the GOOGLE algorithms to spit out an 140-year old label for a team is mind-boggling. Russian hackers, perhaps?

Thursday, August 25, 2016

'Offense' Wastes Another Solid Pomeranz Start, Lose 2-1

(AP Photo)
They're baaaaack—The Raiders Of The Lost Offense. At the end of a grueling 11-game road trip, the Red Sox today looked like a team ready to pack it in and head home. Scattering six singles and one double, Boston squandered multiple opportunities to score, ultimately falling 2-1 to Tampa. Drew Pomeranz turned in another solid performance—going six innings, yielding just two earned runs and striking out eleven. This time the bullpen was fine (notching two shutout innings), but the bats were clearly ready for the flight home. All in all, The Carmine Hose finished this trip with a 7-4 mark. Not bad, but it could have been so much better. Back home on Friday, the Sox will face the Kansas City Royals to begin a brief, six-game homestand. After that, it's off to Oakland for the beginning of another road trip—this one nine games in three cities.

WEEI Casting Wide Net For John Dennis Replacement

In the wake of John Dennis' medically-related retirement, WEEI radio is aggressively seeking a replacement for the long-time Boston sports anchor/talk show host. The open spot on the drive-time morning show would link the new host with the irascible (but interesting) Kirk Minihane and the opinionated (but also interesting) Gerry Callahan. The station has posted a refreshingly honest 'help-wanted ad' on the Sportscasters Talent Agency of America website. One excerpt states, "Candidates should possess quick reflexes and major-market-caliber announcing skills, be thick-skinned and coachable. You’ll be replacing an iconic, 19-year predecessor in America’s most captivated sports media market, so be prepared for a high level of scrutiny. This is not an entry-level position, and only the best should apply." No kidding! Rumors of tension between and among the three hosts have flourished for some time, so it's probably in everybody's best interest that a new formula take hold. It will be interesting to see if the traditionally high ratings for WEEI in this time slot are maintained with the new host.

Benintendi On DL, Papi And Leon Sit Out Today's Matinée

With word that rookie phenom Andrew Benintendi was placed on the DL (with his knee injury a possible season-ender), two other Red Sox mainstays will sit out today's matinée finale of the 11-game road trip: David Ortiz and Sandy 'Babe' Leon. Here is today's lineup: Dustin Pedroia, 2B; Xander Bogaerts, SS; Mookie Betts, RF; Hanley Ramirez, DH; Jackie Bradley Jr., CF; Chris Young, LF; Aaron Hill, 3B; Travis Shaw, 1B; Bryan Holaday, C. On the hill for Boston is lefty Drew Pomeranz.

White Sox Swap One Dumb Field Name For Another

One thing we can be thankful for is that the NOG (no matter how greedy John Henry becomes) will never sell the "naming rights" to Fenway Park—at least we think they won't. Nah, they wouldn't dare do that. Fans of the other baseball sock team aren't so lucky. Pale Hose owner Jerry Reinsdorf announced that—starting next season—the team will be re-naming U.S. Cellular Field as Guaranteed Rate Field. Oh, that's a big improvement, Jerry! Going from a cut-rate wireless company to a mortgage broker. Nice upgrade! Of course, if Reinsdorf weren't so cash-strapped, he could have kept the original name of the park—New Comiskey Park (or Co-minsky as President Obama likes to call it). Anyway, be thankful for small things.

Speculation And Rumor Surround Benintendi Injury

UPDATE: Docs 'reviewing' MRI results. It looks like the Red Sox may be getting some disastrous news today on the knee injury to Andrew Benintendi. While it's only speculation, a number of medical professionals (most with pro sports experience) are weighing in on what might have happened. One in particular—Dr. David J. Chaothinks it might turn out to be an ACL/LCL ligament tear. If so, that could put Benintendi on the shelf for the rest of 2016. Stay tuned for the MRI results later today.

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