Oh what a week it has been, since our embarrassment to close out the home stand on Monday. Two in New York and three against the Rays kept us busy. Fortunately for the early half of the week the Bruins were on as a distraction from the embarrassment in NY.
Game 1, Chris Sale starts the game by throwing 97 mph. Let up 4 through five innings. BS homerun to right field porch. Great pitching nonetheless. Sox had one hit through five. Yankees pitcher, James Paxton has three different pitches. Paxton has a cutter, fastball, and a curve. He held the Sox to two hits and struck out 12 through 8 innings! 8-0 final. Literally no offensive production. I’m not really sure what happened, but it seems to me that the delay on their flight made them forget how to play baseball.
Game 2, the Sox came out trying to prove a point. J.D. Martinez started things off with a solo shot in the 2nd to take an early lead. Christian Vasquez felt left out and decided to hit a two run shot in the 3rd to make it 3-0 Sox through three. The Yankees got one off of Nathan Eovaldi in the 4th, but one was all they could get. Eovaldi completed six innings, allowing only three hits and striking out six. Unfortunately, the bullpen had to be used in the 7th. After Workman walked two and gave up one hit while only getting one out, the bases were loaded for the Yankees. As if there were no other option, the Sox brought in Brasier in an attempt to get out of the pinch. Brett Gardner happened to be at bat, searching for his 100th career homerun. That, he got, in a game changing grand slam to put the Yankees on top 5-3. That’s where it stood for the remainder of the game, finalizing the two game sweep for the Yankees.
Series Winner: Yankees (2-0)
Sox Takeaways: I’m not really sure what to say about this series. The Red Sox did not play well in game one. Sale started throwing well, but ultimately stunk. As easy as it would be to just blame him, another four came for this guy they think is gonna be the next big thing for us. But surprise, he’s already been demoted. On top of that, you can’t win if your team doesn’t score any runs. Game 2, well that one we can blame the bullpen for. What an absolute shame. If there were a game that we absolutely should have won, that was it. And unfortunately, they blew it. Oh and Pedroia left game two with knee inflammation, so we will see on that one. But for me, I think the light at the end of his tunnel is getting close.
Game 1 EROD took the hill and put one hell of a performance. While he did give up three earned runs on seven hits, the Sox offense decided they wanted to help him out. Throwing consistently well through 5 1/3 innings, the pen took on the role of closing out the performance. With an absolutely close out, hitless 3 2/3 innings, and Mitch Moreland’s pure dominance at the plate the Red Sox topped off the first game with an all around team effort to win 6-4.
Game two, Rick Porcello took the mound and took it 5 2/3 with two earned runs on six hits. Ricky only had 5ks, but captured a significantly good start. Benintendi hit a grand slam in the 2nd to pile up five runs early. The pen was a little shaky, per usual for this early portion of our season. Michael Chavis recorded his first major league hit with a double to deep center to move Jackie Bradley over to 3rd. Benintendi then put a deep fly ball out to center to score JBJ. Brasier came in to close it off and after giving a bit of a scare Vasquez ended the game in fashion. Vasquez spotted the runner taking a large lead at first and snapped it down to Pearce to close it out 6-5 with a runner in scoring position.
Game three, Price was on the hill and had his best start of the season. 10 Ks recorded allowing only 5 hits and two earned runs through five. After an 11 inning battle, the Red Sox broke the tie with a sacrifice fly by Vasquez to score the patiently waiting Devers. The Sox brought in Brasier to close out the game beautifully. 4-3 was the final.
Series Winner: Red Sox! (3-0)
Sox Takeaways: The Red Sox were dominant throughout the entire series and seem to have figured out a method to the madness.
Game 1 and 2. Due to a rain out of game one, there was a day night double header on Tuesday. They were such a downer to the burst that they had just experienced against the Rays that I cannot even break them up into two games. I will note that Sale started game 1 and had 10 strikeouts for a phenomenal 5 inning start, but the bullpen blew it. Absolutely destroyed the lead that the offense put up and then let the Tigers take the game. Game two, the offensive production was essentially not there, so the four runs the tigers got was all they needed. Both games were bad for the team.
Game three, EROD took the hill and threw a great six innings. Allowing only one run through six innings with seven strikeouts. The offense had something to prove, putting up four runs through five. Notably, Mike Chavis recorded his first MLB home run. In the bottom of the 8th, the Sox felt the rhythm come alive when they put up seven more runs to make it 11-1. To assume to rest Brasier, Thornburg was brought in to close out the game. In an effort to sabotage the game, he allowed three runs, but fortunately that is all that they got. 11-4 was the final.
Series Winner: No decision yet, game 4 is tonight at 7
Sox Takeaways: What to take away will be decided tonight. More input to come next week.
What To Look For
Finally I’m going to give this section a header as is deserved. As far as the past weekish has to say I’m just ok. Dropping two to the Yankees hurts, no matter when it happens in the season. Sweeping the Rays is a great bounce back from that horrible display. The Tigers series is not done yet, but so far I’m not loving the results. Disclaimer, I didn’t get to watch more than a couple innings of either of Tuesday’s games. So I can’t go into exactly what went wrong. I think an overall umbrella that I’m having an issue with is the pitching, especially the bullpen.
We always seem to have issues with the bullpen, but right now I’m getting fed up. Brasier and Barnes are the only two I feel remotely comfortable coming in to finish off games and as we know they cannot pitch in every single game. It would be brilliant if the starters were capable of going further into games to entirely avoid mid relief all together. But we aren’t in a place to do that right now.
Now we are also facing issues with the starting rotation as well. Nathan Eovaldi will be out for six weeks minimum, and I’m sure everyone else feels the same in not wanting to rush into bringing him back in fear that he won’t be 100% off the bat. Steven Wright will be out for at least 60 more games so he is not an option either. So where do we go from here? I think at this point it is time to bring up some younger players from Pawtucket and even Portland. Test them out and see what they are capable of on the big league scale. With two starters down right now, there’s no time to sit around and wait to make a move. Down another starter also means a heavier load on our already fragile rotation, so any additions could be beneficial at this point.
I cannot leave unsaid my disappointment with the release of Blake Swihart. So much potential and ability to adapt to a utility player sent off to Arizona so soon in his career. What makes it hurt worse is Pedroia going down again. In the unfortunate case of his injury, there is a tough rehab and essentially starting from scratch on what you’ve worked so hard for. Pedroia has been a staple with the Red Sox for nearly 13 years now, and has been a huge part of the Red Sox successes. He is a Red Sox Hall of Fame candidate for certain, which is why it kills me to say it. Pedroia should retire. At a young age, his injury would not be easy, but now that Pedroia is a veteran among the league it is time for him to hang the cleats up. His career has been phenomenal to this point, and I believe trying to force a comeback, that is not working, would take away from his legacy. I love Pedey, so that’s why it’s his time to be done.
On to what to look forward to, I think tonight with Porcello on the mound, we have got a seriously statement to be made about the season to come. Tomorrow, the Rays come into town and we’ve seen what we can do against them. The battle for the top needs to start with tonight.
I apologize for the late drop this week, my last day of classes was Monday, so the 12 oz curls got in the way.
Until next week, Go Sox!