Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Injured Mookie Betts Not In Tonight's Red Sox Lineup

Here is tonight's Red Sox lineup: Xander Bogaerts SS, Chris Young RF, Andrew Benintendi LF, Hanley Ramirez DH, Sam Travis 1B, Rafael Devers 3B, Deven Marrero 2B, Sandy Leon C, Jackie Bradley, Jr. CF. On the mound tonight is LHP Chris Sale—who will try to reduce the Magic Number to clinch the AL East down to at least two.

Pomeranz Fastball Speed Dropping Off Since Mid-August

Baseball Prospectus Boston writer Matthew Kory points out that the fastball velocity of Red Sox starter Drew Pomeranz has declined steadily since mid-August. And, Kory is careful to point out, this trend does not include last night's 2-inning debacle. This, of course, raises the troubling question of whether Pomeranz has hit the proverbial "wall". He has, after all, been an injury-prone guy over his career—heck we almost voided the trade that got him here over health concerns. Pomeranz has thrown about as many innings this year (167.2) as he did in 2016 (170.2). His late-season work for us in 2016 was much worse (4.59 ERA) than his earlier innings for San Diego (2.47 ERA). This from a guy who was 'ACE 1-A' for a big part of this season. At best, a worrisome trend.

'Drew Two' Flops, Injured Red Sox Limp To 6-4 Loss

(Getty Images)
Which is the most disturbing outcome of last night's 6-4 loss to the Blue Jays: a crappy, two-inning start by Drew Pomeranz; the game-removing injuries of Mookie Betts and Eduardo Nunez; the Magic Number being stuck at three with six games left? Take your pick, they all stink! Pomeranz clearly had nothing from the start—blowing a 2-1 lead in his second and final inning. The balky knee of Nunez and Mookie's injured left wrist make them both highly questionable for the balance of the regular season. An Empire win over KC dropped the division lead to four games. The only bright lights in the contest were: Betts going 2-3 and raising his RBI total to 101 before leaving; Andrew Benintendi's pinch-hit HR (which brought Boston to within one); seven pretty good bullpen innings. That's it.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Mookie The Magnificient Rallys Red Sox To 5-4 Win

Down 4-1 in the eighth-inning, the Red Sox made another patented comeback—scoring four runs on the bat and guile of Mookie Betts. The Boston right-fielder laced a gap double that cleared the bases to tie the contest at 4-4. Then, on an infield bleeder to third, he raced around to score the lead run in the eventual 5-4 win. Boston now has 20 wins when trailing after five innings—leading MLB. The Carmine Hose plated the five runs on only five hits—with Rafael Devers homering and knocking in the other two runs. Doug Fister went just 5.1 innings giving up three earned runs. But, again, the Boston bullpen went 3.2 innings giving up no earned runs. Craig Kimbrel got his 35th save. The win—coupled with an Empire loss—pushed the Red Sox division lead to five full games with seven to play. The Magic Number is down to three. (Getty Images)

Saturday, September 23, 2017

E-Rod The Magnificent Drops Sox Magic Number To Five

Eduardo Rodriguez made a statement today: "Put me in the postseason rotation!". The lefty went 7.2 innings, giving up no runs and just three hits. He struck out six in the 5-0 Boston win that reduced the team's Magic Number to five to clinch the AL East. The big offensive blow for Boston—in their fifth straight win—was a three-run HR by Mitch Moreland. Other RBIs came from Brock Holt and hometown boy Andrew Benintendi. Carson Smith and Joe Kelly closed things out, as Boston has now won 13 of their last 16 contests at the most crucial time of the year. Doug Fister will try to go for the sweep in Queen City on Sunday. (Getty Images)

Sox Hit Comeback Trail, Empire Fail, Magic Number 6

It was not looking good. Rick Porcello coughed up an early 1-0 by giving up a grand slam to a guy named 'Scooter'. But then, as they have so many times before, the Red Sox roared back. Pouncing on a rookie Reds pitcher (who grew up a Yankee fan), Boston answered with four runs of their own for a 5-4 win. The big blow was by rookie Rafael Devers—a three run HR to give The Carmine Hose the lead. Again, the bullpen was elite—most notably David Price who had another stellar outing (2.2 innings, no earned runs, 4 Ks). Craig Kimbrel pitched the ninth for the save. The Evil Empire was pounded 8-1 in The Great White North, which increased Boston's AL East lead to four games and reduced the Magic Number to clinch the division title to six. (Getty Images)

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

'Sale-A-Bration' As Sox Ace Reaches 300Ks In 9-0 Win

For the first time in 18 years, a major-league pitcher has reached the 300 strikeout plateau. And on top of that, Chris Sale tonight became only the second pitcher in Red Sox history to collect 300 Ks. The other guy was Pedro Matrinez in his ridiculous 1999 season. The lanky lefty ace mowed down 13 Birds—the last, fittingly, Portland, Maine native (and young Red Sox fan) Ryan Flaherty. There were many other interesting twists in this game—but the history made by Sale overwhelms it all. Both Mookie Betts and Deven Marrero launched 2-run HRs. And, Hanley Ramirez, back in lineup, had three hits and three RBIs in the 9-0 win. Also, Dustin Pedroia broke out of a long slump with a two-RBI hit. But this night belonged to Sale. Boston maintains its three-game advantage over The Evil Ones with just 10 left to play. And, if Tito's Tribe wins tonight, the Sox will have clinched a playoff spot. (Getty Images)

POLL: Near Three-Quarters Think MLB Is Juicing Ball

Very early voting in our latest FenwayNation Poll shows that almost three FN readers in four think Major League Baseball is "juicing" the baseball to increase the number of HRs hit. Yesterday, the all-time single-season HR record was broken. As the chart shows, just over one-quarter of voters feel the MLB is not juicing up baseballs. You can still vote in this poll HERE.

POLL: With Record-Breaking HR, Is MLB Juicing Ball?

The all-time, single-season record 5,694th HR was hit yesterday. In 2014, just 4,186 HRs were hit. Is MLB juicing the baseball?
 
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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Red Sox 'Walk On The Wild (Pitch) Side', Beat O's 1-0

Alert the media! Another extra-innings Red Sox win—their fifteenth of 2017. A true pitcher's duel dominated most of this quick contest—with Drew Pomeranz going 6.1 innings and giving up no eared runs on just five hits. Stellar defensive plays helped—Andrew Benintendi gunning down a runner at the plate and Jackie Bradley, Jr. literally stealing a solo HR from the Birds. There weren't many offensive fireworks to talk about in this one—with the winning run scoring on a wild pitch in the 11th inning for the 1-0 victory. The win guarantees that the Sox will maintain their 3-game lead on The Bronx Embalmers and they reduce their Magic Number to clinch the AL East to 9. (Getty Images)

Pedey And Hanley Both Out Of Red Sox Lineup

Here is tonight's Red Sox lineup: Xander Bogaerts SS; Andrew Benintendi LF; Mookie Betts RF; Mitch Moreland 1B; Christian Vazquez C; Rafael Devers 3B; Sam Travis DH; Brock Holt 2B; Jackie Bradley Jr. CF. Drew Pomeranz is on the mound for The Carmine Hose.

Red Sox Smack Down 'Jaws Of Defeat', Comeback 10-8

(AP Photo)
The Red Sox were down 5-0, 6-1 and 8-7 last night to the increasingly surly Baltimore Orioles and their Captain Queeg-like manager. They had played like Little Leaguers against The Empire and suddenly they were pumped to play The Carmine Hose. It didn't matter. The Red Sox erupted for six runs in the fifth to take a 7-6 lead—paced by three RBIs in the inning by Mookie Betts. A see-saw battle ensued, until Andrew Benintendi laced a two-out single to right in the 11th inning that gave Boston the winning 10-8 edge. Doug Fister was awful, morphing back into the guy we thought we got—going just two innings and giving up five earned runs. Nine other Boston pitchers did the job—with Carson Smith getting his first Red Sox save. This was another in a long line of "character-building" wins—keeping Boston three full games up on The Bronx Embalmers.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Red Sox Offense Shuts Down, Fall To Devil Dogs, 3-2

(AP Photo)
Thank goodness for Jackie Bradley, Jr.'s bat. Otherwise, the Red Sox would have been shut out Sunday by the lowly Rays in a 3-2 loss at TheMostPulpDome. JBJ launched his 17th HR of the year—a two-run blast in the sixth. Otherwise—Raiders Of The Lost Offense again. Boston managed just three hits (two by Bradley) in the loss. Andrew Benintendi got the only other base knock. Eduardo Rodriguez pitched decently, but was hurt by costly errors. And, David Price pitched two perfect innings of relief. Austin Maddox continued his scoreless run streak with one-third of an inning of relief. On the downside, Mookie Betts suffered a right thumb contusion on a weird play at first base. Luckily, The Bronx Embalmers lost to the reeling Orioles—who The Carmine Hose will play tonight in Charm City.