Monday, October 15, 2018

Update On Chris Sale Expected At 6:45 PM From Red Sox Manager Alex Cora

For those of you in The Nation sitting on pins and needles waiting for some word on Chris Sale's health, it should come down around 6:45 PM tonight. According to WBZ-TV's Dan Roche, that's when Red Sox manager Alex Cora is scheduled to speak to the press—and you'd have to think that Sale will be topic number one on the agenda. Very little information has been available from the Red Sox beyond the fact that their lefty ace was admitted to Massachusetts General Hospital on Sunday afternoon with an unspecified stomach illness. Vague comments about him being "OK" and expecting him to "join the team in Houston" have not helped clear up the situation. In general, people want to know the following: 1.) what exactly is the medical problem; 2.) why did it necessitate an overnight stay at a hospital; 3.) what is the short-term prognosis; and 4.) can he pitch Game 5 on Thursday? Stay tuned—the season may hang in the balance.

Beloved Long-Time NESN Cameraman John Martin Dies After Battling ALS

Sad news yesterday, as long-time cameraman for New England Sports Network (NESN) John Martin passed away after battling ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease). He was just 51 years of age. Martin covered the Boston sports scene for nearly two decades, and was beloved among all who knew him. His wife Adrienne made the following statement today, "John passed away yesterday, almost exactly two years from the day he was diagnosed with ALS. He was asked to handle more than any human should be asked to and he did so well, as well as anyone could, in this awful situation. He really hung in there and right up until the end he was still so John, funny & cheeky and stubborn & bossy, handsome and charming." Last August a number of local celebrities—including Pedro Martinez—played in Steve Buckley's Oldtime Baseball Game in Cambridge to benefit Martin and the ALS Therapy Development Institute. As part of the fundraising effort, "Café Martin" baseball hats were also sold—signifying his home's back deck where friends congregated to be with John. A GoFundMe page to benefit Martin's family has been established. If you'd like to contribute to this worthy effort, please click HERE. Thank you.

Brooklyn-Based Brewery Pays Up On ALDS Bet, Names Beer After Red Sox

Say what you will about New Yorkers (and believe us, we have a lot to say), at least they pay up their losing bets (every once in a while). Gotham-based Brooklyn Brewery entered into an ALDS bet with Boston-based Sam Adams Brewery for bragging rights in the recent American League Division Series. The wager stated that the losing city would post a video on Twitter 'toasting' with the winner’s beer. Of course, The Carmine Hose dispatched The Bronx Embalmers in four games (3 games to 1) and moved on the American League Championship Series. The Pinstriped Posers are golfing. The beer will remain on tap at Brooklyn Brewery for another week. If you're a Red Sox fan, and in the area, be sure to stop by and knock-back a "This Sox Pale Lager".

Houston Sports Talk Show Alleges Matt Barnes Was Cheating With Pine Tar

And you think the Zapruder film was over-analyzed! Now, Houston-based sports talk show host Josh Innes has posted a Twitter video allegedly showing Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes "cheating" by going to a "pine tar" substance on his left arm before each pitch. Of course, there is absolutely no substantiation of this claim—in fact, it looks like there's nothing at all on the pitcher's arm (except maybe sweat). And, it might just be a nervous tick that Barnes touches his arm before a pitch. Who knows? And, don't you think that the eagled-eyed Astro coaching staff would have said something if it was that obvious? This, of course, didn't stop the dumb allegation from being made. It's highly unlikely that this "controversy" rises any higher than the paranoid conspiracy-theory sewing circles of Houston, Texas. No word on whether MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has heard about this silliness, but we will try to keep you posted if anything else transpires. Stay tuned!

All Of The MLB Final Four Need Seven Wins For A World Series Championship

With both the ALCS and NLCS tied at one game apiece, all four of the teams left in the MLB "Tournament" (thank you again, Bill Parcells) need just seven wins to capture a World Series title. It's easy to lose sight of that larger picture in the throes of the series themselves, but that's what's it all about—seven more wins. Both the Red Sox and the Astros are well-acquainted with lots of wins this year—Boston with a franchise-record 108 and the Astros with their franchise-record 103. And, both The Brew Crew and The Denizens Of Chavez Ravine can easily rattle off seven more victories en route to a ring. But it's these seven that are the toughest of the year. Actually, for the American League teams, it may be the next three. Both Houston and Boston seem far superior ball clubs than either the Brewers or Dodgers—in fact, the entire National League seemed vastly inferior to the American League for most of 2018. So, it could be that the AL champ rattles off a streak in the World Series like the 2004 and 2007 World Champion Red Sox—four straight in each. We shall see. In the meantime, seven more wins to go.

Chris Sale Admitted To MGH With 'Stomach Illness', Status Unclear For ALCS

During last night's win in Game Two of the ALCS, the Red Sox announced their their ace, Chris Sale, was admitted to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston due to a "stomach illness". The lefty was admitted to MGH sometime on Sunday afternoon, and was kept there overnight for "evaluation". Sale pitched on Saturday night in Game One of the ALCS—and was not his dominant self (to say the least). It's not clear at this point whether the stomach issues had anything to do with his ineffective performance. Said Manager Alex Cora, "From what I know, it's nothing serious, but obviously whenever you have to go to the hospital you gotta be, quote-unquote worried. But he should be fine. Hopefully we get news in the upcoming hours and he'll join us in Houston." The key word here is "hopefully".  If Boston needs to navigate the balance of the ALCS without their mound ace, things could get ugly. Stay tuned!

JBJ Leads The Charge In Red Sox "Must-Win", 7-5—ALCS Knotted At 1-1

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It wasn't looking good. David Price had pitched 'better' (4.2, 4 ER, 4 BB, HR), but he had just given up a two-run home run, resulting in a 4-2 deficit. However, the resilient Carmine Hose loaded the bases on Gerrit Cole in the third inning, when Jackie Bradley, Jr. launched one of the biggest hits of his career. His opposite-field, wall-ball double skimmed along the tiny shelf in left (seemingly forever) allowing three runs to score and giving Boston a lead it never relinquished in the ultimate 7-5 win.  The benighted bullpen (often criticized on this site) performed brilliantly—going 4.1 innings and giving up just one hit (although Craig Kimbrel delivered yet another cardiac save). Mookie Betts also delivered key blows in the contest—two doubles (one delivering a key late RBI and the other leading off the game). He also produced a "MookieRun" around the bases—with a walk and three advancements on passed balls/wild pitches. Rafael Devers also came up big—both in the field and with a 2-3 night at the plate (knocking in one and scoring two). Andrew Benintendi helped get things going in the first by knocking in Betts with the first run of the game. There's no question this was a must win situation for Boston. The victory evened the series at 1-1, and means the Red Sox now just need to win one game at The Juice Box in Houston to bring the series back to Fenway.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Rafael Devers And Ian Kinsler Into The Red Sox Line-Up For ALCS Game Two

Here is tonight's Red Sox line-up for Game Two of the American League Championship Series: 1. Mookie Betts (R) R,F 2. Andrew Benintendi (L) LF, 3. J.D. Martinez (R) DH, 4. Xander Bogaerts (R) SS, 5. Steve Pearce (R) 1B, 6. Rafael Devers (L) 3B, 7. Ian Kinsler (R) 2B, 8. Jackie Bradley, Jr. (L) CF, 9. Christian Vázquez (R) C. On the hill tonight for The Carmine Hose is LHP David Price.

Red Sox Pitching Weakness On Display In Painful 7-2 Loss To World Champs

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All year we have pointed to the Achilles Heel of this Red Sox team—relief pitching. Yesterday, in Game One of the ALCS, that heel became inflamed as Boston's pitching overall (including starter Chris Sale) showed no command against the defending champ Astros. Combined Red Sox pitching walked ten and hit three batters to place a merry-go-round of Astros on the base-paths. Remarkably, the game was tied a 2-2 in the seventh—as there were only had eight combined hits between the two teams. This was a weird one. From the Start, Sale had nothing—a mediocre fastball and an inability to throw strikes. He left after just four innings—having yielded just one hit—but behind 2-0. Then, after Boston scraped together two runs (on a bases-loaded walk and a wild pitch), the dreaded bullpen reared its very ugly head. Joe Kelly hit a batter who eventually scored the winning run, and Brandon Workman put away any doubt that this was going to be a loss. Workman pitched one-third of an inning—giving up two home runs and four runs overall. A hideous performance. So, Boston is down 1-0 in the best-of-seven-series and may never come back to Fenway in this series. Game Two—with David Price on the mound—becomes a must-win.

The Top Five Red Sox Wins Of The Brilliant 2018 Season.

There were many magical moments on the way to the 108-win regular season of your 2018 Carmine Hose. As they get set to face the World Champion Astros in the ALCS, many betting sites (which you can monitor on are placing Boston as the underdog. As we review this special season, it's really difficult to pick out the five best Red Sox wins of the year, but here we go (in no particular order):

April 8—The Red Sox come back from a five-run deficit, collecting six straight two-out hits to beat Tampa, 8-7. Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi led the way in a thrilling eight-inning rally at Fenway;

May 10—After falling behind 4-0 to The Evil Ones, J.D. Martinez plants an opposite-field solo HR—breaking a 4-4 tie and allowing Boston to at least salvage the final game of a key early-season series against their arch-rivals;

June 30Chris Sale goes seven innings of one-hit, no-run ball—striking out eleven against the Yankees in a dominant 11-0 win. Twenty-one-year-old Rafael Devers goes 5-for-5 with a salami;

July 12Mookie Betts delivers one of the most electrifying at-bats of his career, going 13 pitches against then-Blue Jay (and eventual Pinstriped Poser) J.A. Happ, lofting a grand slam over the Green Monster. The Red Sox would eventually win the game, 6-4;

Aug. 2—The legendary "Steve Pearce Miracle Game". The newly-acquired first-baseman launches  three home runs against the Yankees (one of his former teams)—leading to a 15-7 shellacking of The Bronx Embalmers.

While Boston may be an underdog in the ALCS, there are some who think they can outlast the Astros—particularly with their hard-won home-field advantage. For example, CBS Boston's Matt Dolloff sees three reasons for a BoSox edge (one of which is Chris Sale's dominance of the defending champs). Another scribe (The Houston Chronicle's Brian T. Smith)—feels that, while the Sox are the toughest adversary the Astros will face in the post-season, they are a better overall team and will prevail. So, all in all, this is shaping up to be a fantastic series—a "Clash Of The Titans", if you will—that could cap-off a stellar Red Sox season with an American League pennant.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Please Support The Sean Collier Scholarship Fund For Somerville High School

On April 15, 2013, two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three and wounding 264 people. Three days later, MIT Patrol Officer Sean A. Collier was shot and killed by the two terrorist bombers responsible for the attack. Officer Collier was ambushed and shot multiple times by the Tsarnaev brothers while seated in his patrol car. Collier, a resident of Somerville, Massachusetts, had previously been a sergeant in the Somerville Auxiliary Police Department. In his honor, a scholarship fund has been established at Somerville High School. The fund helps SHS seniors pursue careers in law enforcement. Between October 19th and 21st, the scholarship's 6th annual fundraiser will be held at Lyndell's Bakery on 720 Broadway, Ball Square, Somerville. One dollar from the sale of every "Badge # 310" bakery item will be donated to the fund—and 100% of the proceeds from an associated raffle will also be donated to the fund. All of us in the Greater Boston area who lived through this horrific period in our history will never forget the sacrifices made by people like Officer Collier. Our Editor-In-Chief grew up in Somerville and is an alum of Somerville High School, so this event has even more significance for him. Please help out this terrific cause as much as you can—and honor the life of a true American hero.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

The Red Sox Are Unlikely To Make Any Roster Changes From ALDS To ALCS

While there is still time to change their minds, the Red Sox are unlikely to make any changes to their roster from the one they fielded in the ALDS against The Bronx Embalmers. Said manager Alex Cora on Thursday, "Most likely we'll stay the same but we still have to meet and talk about it and obviously make a decision as a group. I think our roster in the Yankees series matches up well with who we're gonna play here." The one 'wild card' in the roster mix is the health of first-baseman Mitch Moreland. The lefty tweaked a hamstring in ALDS Game Two and has been 'day-to-day' since. If "Mitchy-Two-Bags" can't go for the ALCS, Boston could add a 12th pitcher—like Brian Johnson or Bobby Poyner. Regarding Moreland, Cora added, "Mitch is feeling better. Today, he's gonna hit inside. We've still got time to see where we're at with him. Hopefully he keeps getting better and will be ready to go on Saturday." So, chances are good that the exact same players hit the field against the World Champs as did against The Pinstriped Posers.

Astros Correa Plagued By Back Soreness As ALCS Tilt With Boston Looms

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The potent Houston Astros line-up is filled with guys who can kill you. One, however, who will not be at 100% full strength is their star shortstop Carlos Correa. He's been battling back issues almost the entire year—and spent six full weeks on the disabled list. Since his return to action on August 10th, he has not been the offensive force he once was. He did homer once in the ALDS against Tito's Tribe, but every swing brings pain. Being the post-season, he will suck it up and play—said Correa, "You’re a competitor so every time you step on the field you play it off like everything is fine. But obviously you’re hurting." Again, Houston has enough firepower in the rest of their line-up to more than compensate for a less-than-stellar Correa. Still, it's something to watch for in the upcoming ALCS.

Steve Pearce's Tortuous Route To Finally Play For His Favorite MLB Team

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Steve Pearce will always be remembered by Red Sox fans for his 'stretch and catch' to end the 2018 ALDS against The Evil Ones. His acquisition by Boston last June ended a twisting MLB Odyssey that finally landed him on the roster of the franchise he rooted for as a kid. Despite growing up in Lakeland, Florida, Pearce was an early convert to Red Sox Nation. His Dad grew up in Rehoboth, Massachusetts and started the indoctrination of young Steve early on. Says Pearce, "I was brainwashed as a kid. Had no choice." Ironically, Pearce was selected by The Carmine Hose in the 10th Round of the 2004 MLB Draft (pick #305), but he decided to return to the University of South Carolina for another year—and was eventually drafted again, this time by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Since then, he has also played for every franchise in the American League East. He has been just as advertised since he arrived in Boston—for example, belting three HRs in a memorable August 2nd win against The Bronx Embalmers at Fenway Park. We are very happy that he has settled in with the team of his youth! Hopefully, he'll get a ring with them.

POLL: Almost Three-Quarters Do Not Want Mookie Moved Off Lead-Off Spot

Early voting in our latest FenwayNation Poll shows that almost three-quarters of readers (74%) do not want Mookie Betts moved out of the lead-off spot in the Red Sox bating order. As the chart shows, just over one-quarter of readers (26%) take the opposite view that, given his "slump" in the post-season, Mookie should be moved down to the 2 or 3 spot—just ahead of J.D. Martinez. The theory, of course, is that Mookie would see many more good pitches to hit in the new spot—and thus emerge more quickly from his .188 average so far in the playoffs. You can still vote in the poll HERE.

"He Hate Us"—Red Sox Tabbed As "Least-Likable" Of The MLB's Final Four

Not surprisingly, one baseball writer is ranking the Red Sox as the "least-likable" of the remaining four teams in the "tournament" (thank you again, Bill Parcells) for a World Series title. TheComeback.Com's Sean Keeley claims that our three World Series titles in the last fifteen years put us on par with the Yankees (or at least how they used to be), the Cowboys (again, in the past) and Duke (forever). The Astros are placed as the next "least-likable"—since they won it all last year and picked up a domestic abuser as their new closer. The Denizens Of Chavez Ravine come in third on the list, not for any particular reason except that they're—well—the Dodgers. And, of course, the new darlings of  Major League Baseball (the Milwaukee Brewers) are at the bottom of the "least-likable" scale. Oh well, we already have this experience with the Patriots, so we're fine.