May 21, 2018

Well, Look At That. Yankee Sluggers Are - Surprise! - NOT The Greatest Thing Ever. Betts & Martinez Make ESPN Eat A Bit Of Crow.

David Schoenfield, ESPN:
Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton have about 13 inches and 125 pounds on Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez, but they don't have anything on them in the power department, at least through May 20. We expected an American League East duo to crush its way through distressed pitching staffs, but it's Betts and Martinez who are tied for the major league lead with 15 home runs each, not the pair in pinstripes.
You sound a bit surprised, David. Anointing a player or players as The Second Coming before the season has even begun is both foolish and almost guaranteed to be wrong. While you may not have done that, numerous writers did, breathlessly fawning over Judge and Stanton to the point where if I saw little hearts drawn around A.J. and G.S. on the writers' spring training scorecards, I would not be surprised. ... But I cut you off. Please continue.
Betts and Martinez not only share the home run lead, but they rank first and third, respectively, in the majors in batting average; first and second in wOBA; first and second in isolated power; first in runs (Betts); and second in RBIs (Martinez). Martinez, with his .343 average and 41 RBIs, has established himself as a Triple Crown candidate.

Despite their long history of explosive offenses, this is the first time the Red Sox have had two players with 15 home runs by the end of May. It's quite the change from last season, when the Red Sox had just one player hit 15 by the All-Star break, when Betts had 16.

The comparison to Judge and Stanton? No contest:
Betts:     .365/.438/.760, .504 wOBA, 15 HR, 32 RBI, 48 R
Martinez:  .343/.397/.680, .459 wOBA, 15 HR, 41 RBI, 31 R

Judge:     .282/.416/.546, .417 wOBA, 11 HR, 35 RBI, 33 R
Stanton:   .263/.345/.526, .378 wOBA, 11 HR, 27 RBI, 32 R
... When Martinez signed with the Red Sox, the minor concern was how his power would translate to Fenway Park. He's the rare slugger who hits the majority of his home runs to the opposite field -- last year, he hit 24 of his 45 home runs to right-center or right field -- which means hitting to the deepest part of Fenway. So far, it hasn't affected his output: He has hit four home runs to center field and eight to right, and he's hitting .365 at Fenway with nine home runs.

May 20, 2018

G47: Red Sox 5, Orioles 0

Orioles  - 000 000 000 - 0 13  0
Red Sox  - 010 040 00x - 5 12  1
The homer-happy Red Sox bashed three dongs for the second consecutive game, with J.D. Martinez clubbing two and Andrew Benintendi, who also went deep last night, hitting one.

The Red Sox have homered in 19 of their last 20 games (38 homers) and have hit 11 in their last five games.

The Red Sox have hit 67 home runs this season, the most in team history through 47 games (the tater-tagging 1977 team had 66).

The Orioles had at least one hit in every inning (112 113 121), but Eduardo Rodriguez (5-9-0-0-7, 110) and three relievers kept them off the board. Buck's Binder Boys also stranded at least one man on base in every inning, and had 14 LOB for the afternoon. (The Red Sox left 12.)

The Orioles have had only one other game in their history in which they had 13 hits and failed to score. But that game lasted 15 innings (May 14, 1961), with Baltimore losing 1-0 to Cleveland.

Excluding extra-inning games, since 1908, there have been only 12 instances of a team having 13+ hits and no runs. Of those 12, the losing team was shutout on 14 hits (the Giants on September 14, 1913 and Cleveland on July 10, 1928).

No team has ever had 15 or more hits in a nine-inning game and failed to score. But ... the Red Sox lost 1-0 in 15 innings to the Senators on July 3, 1913 and Washington's Walter Johnson gave up 15 hits. Boston's National League team had 15 hits on August 1, 1918 and lost 2-0 to the Pirates in 21 innings.

Martinez got the party started with a solo shot on David Hess's first pitch of the second inning. Hess (4.2-8-5-2-4, 87) threw another 34 pitches in the frame, but did not allow another run.

The Red Sox batted around in the fifth. Jackie Bradley doubled on an 0-2 pitch and went to third as Mookie Betts flied to right. Benintendi belted his 5th home run and Boston led 3-0. Mitch Moreland doubled and Martinez blasted his second homer of the day. (JDM and Betts lead the majors with 15.) Eduardo Nunez and Brock Holt later singled, but they were left on base.

Rodriguez escaped a jam in the third. With one out and runners at first and second, he got Manny Machado topop to third and Jonathan Schoop to ground to third. Rodriguez left the game with the bases loaded in the sixth, but Heath Hembree got the third out as Trey mancini flied to right.

The Red Sox are off on Monday. They start a three-game series in Tampa Bay - who have won six of their last seven games - and recently pushed the Blue Jays into fourth place - on Tuesday.
David Hess / Eduardo Rodriguez
Betts, RF
Benintendi, LF
Moreland, 1B
Martinez, DH
Devers, 3B
Nunez, 2B
Holt, SS
Vazquez, C
Bradley, CF

I'm still a genius!

NESN Presents Red Sox Superstar "Mooke" Betts

The only conceivable way NESN could sink any lower than it did on Saturday night is if it misspelled "Pedro" or "2004". ... Or "NESN".

Thanks to Jere (fellow member of the NESN Non-Appreciation Society):

That is from last night's postgame show.

It cannot be denied:

May 19, 2018

G46: Red Sox 6, Orioles 3

Orioles  - 001 002 000 - 3  6  1
Red Sox  - 000 130 20x - 6  6  0
Andrew Benintendi drove in three runs, one on a home run in the fifth (when he went back-to-back with Mookie Betts) and two on a one-out single in the seventh to give the Red Sox its margin of victory on a cold, windy, rainy night.

Rick Porcello (6-6-3-3-9, 107) battled to keep the lowly Orioles at bay. Joe Kelly, Matt Barnes, and Craig Kimbrel each pitched a perfect inning of relief.

Baltimore led 1-0, but Rafael Devers's opposite-field home run tied the game in the fourth. Here is NESN's replay of that shot, which tells the whole story:

In the fifth, Sandy Leon doubled. One out later, Betts hit his 15th home run and Benintendi followed with his 4th.

The Orioles closed the gap, but in the seventh, Tanner Scott walked both Leon and Jackie Bradley. Betts's fly ball allowed both runners to move up one base and Benintendi brought them both home with a single to center.
Dylan Bundy / Rick Porcello
Betts, RF
Benintendi, LF
Ramirez, 1B
Martinez, DH
Bogaerts, SS
Devers, 3B
Nunez, 2B
Leon, C
Bradley, CF
Alex Reimer of WEEI takes a quick look at what J.D. Martinez and Giancarlo Stanton have done this year and concludes (albeit a bit early) that the Red Sox "got the better slugger for potentially $133 million less".
Martinez   .344/.394/.656  OPS: 1.050
Stanton    .255/.344/.516  OPS:  .860
David Schoenfield, ESPN:
[Mookie Betts] went 3-for-4 with a walk, three stolen bases and two runs scored [on Thursday]. He's now hitting .364 and slugging .734, and he's on pace for 48 homers, 59 doubles, 41 stolen bases and 169 runs scored. ... [T]hat's a career for some players.

Earlier in the day, we ran a terrific story from Sam Miller on Mike Trout. The headline: "Mike Trout is on pace for the greatest season in MLB history." Sam does a great job of explaining why that's the case, as Trout's 3.5 WAR through the Angels' first 40 games put him on pace for 14.2 WAR, which would break Babe Ruth's single-season record of 14.1 in 1923. ...

[But] if the AL MVP vote were held today, I think Betts beats out the guy on pace for the greatest season ever. He leads Trout in home runs, runs, RBIs and has a big lead in batting average (.364 to .290) and slugging percentage (.734 to .600) and Betts' slight edge in FanGraphs WAR helps cancel out Trout's lead in Baseball-Reference WAR.
Hey, Buck! Remember May 8? That's the day Dylan Bundy became the first pitcher in the history of the universe to allow four home runs in a game without recording an out?

That's ancient history! The Orioles have a one-game winning streak! You'll be hearing our footsteps soon, Red Sox!

May 18, 2018

G45: Orioles 7, Red Sox 4

Orioles  - 100 400 101 - 7 10  1
Red Sox  - 001 020 010 - 4 13  1
Drew Pomeranz was awful yet again (4-7-5-3-2, 81). The Red Sox battled back in the eighth and, with two outs, trailed 6-4 and had the bases loaded for Mookie Betts, but he popped out to first.

When Pomeranz walked the game's first batter, Trey Mancini, on four pitches, it was a portend of what was to come. In addition to scoring a run in the first and four more in the fourth, the Orioles had runners at second and third with one out in the third, but could not cash in.

Chris Davis opened the fourth with a double and Danny Valencia singled him to third. Pomeranz got two outs, but he walked Mancini. Adam Jones stroked a two-run single to left and an error by Andrew Benintendi put Orioles at second and third. Both runners scored on Manny Machado's single.

The Red Sox closed to within two runs in the fifth. Singles from Eduardo Nunez and Christian Vazquez put runners at first and third with one out. Betts, who had hit his 14th home run in the third, doubled home Nunez. Vazquez scored on Benintendi's single, but that was the end of the rally as Hanley Ramirez grounded into a double play.

Vazquez doubled with one out in the seventh and Benintendi walked with two outs, but Ramirez again ended the inning, this time with a line out to right.

In the eighth, Xander Bogaerts reached on Mancini's two-base error. Reliever Richard Bleier got Rafael Devers to groundout for the second out, but Nunez's doubled in Bogaerts and Brock Holt followed with an infield single. Brad Brach took over, facing pinch-hitter Mitch Moreland, who worked an eight-pitch walk. Betts popped out on Brach's 1-2 pitch.

The Orioles' win snapped a string of 13 consecutive road losses. Baltimore's last victory away from Camden Yards had been on April 8.
Alex Cobb / Drew Pomeranz
Betts, RF
Benintendi, LF
Ramirez, 1B
Martinez, DH
Bogaerts, SS
Devers, 3B
Nunez, 2B
Bradley, CF
Vazquez, C
Cobb started at Fenway Park on April 14 and lasted only 3.2 innings, allowing 10 hits and 8 runs. Boston won 10-3.

After two decent six-inning starts, Pomeranz struggled in his last outing. In four-plus innings against the Blue Jays, he gave up five hits and issued five walks.

J.D. Martinez has reached base by hit or walk in 22 consecutive games (since April 29) , with a .393/.463/.774 line. Martinez has hit safely in 17 of his last 18 games, batting .400 and slugging .800.

The Mighty Mookie Betts is hitting .444 (12-for-27) over his last six games. Betts leads the major leagues in runs scored, total bases, batting average, slugging percentage, OPS, OPS+, Runs Created, and Win Probability Added, and is tied for the lead in hits.

Betts leads his nearest challenger by 73 points in slugging percentage and 93 points in OPS. He is second in doubles, home runs, and on-base percentage (only .003 behind the leader), and is fourth in steals.

Martinez is third in MLB in both average and slugging.

Hey! We have some good players, too! There's Machado and ... umm ... err ... ah, go to hell!

May 17, 2018

G44: Red Sox 6, Orioles 2

Orioles  - 000 000 002 - 2  5  0
Red Sox  - 200 040 00x - 6 10  0
David Price dominated the Orioles (9-5-2-0-8, 95) and for the second straight game, J.D. Martinez hit a two-run homer in the first inning and Xander Bogaerts added a three-run shot in the middle innings.

On Wednesday, X's dong came in the sixth inning; tonight, it was hit in the fifth. Mookie Betts went 3-for-4, stole three bases, and scored two runs. The Red Sox are the first team to win 30 games - and are again tied for first place with the idle Yankees.

Price was one strike away from a four-hit shutout when he allowed a two-run homer to Manny Machado. Price faced either three or four batters in each of the first eight innings. His economical pitches-by-inning: 11-9-15 11-8-8 9-9-15.

Betts singled in the bottom of the first. He stole second and scored on Martinez's 13th home run of the year.

In addition to scoring four runs in the fifth, the Red Sox stole four bases. Jackie Bradley walked and stole second. He went to third on Betts's single and scored on Andrew Benintendi's sac fly to right. Then Betts stole second and Hanley Ramirez reached on an infield single to third. When Martinez struck out swinging, Betts and Ramirez pulled a double steal. Bogaerts then blasted a 3-1 pitch to left for three runs.
Kevin Gausman / David Price
Betts, RF
Benintendi, LF
Ramirez, 1B
Martinez, DH
Bogaerts, SS
Devers, 3B
Holt, 2B
Leon, C
Bradley, CF
The postponement of the Red Sox's Patriots Day game against the Orioles on April 16 is being made up today -- but not at 11 AM.

The Orioles opened the season 8-27, but have won five of their last seven games. ... They are still a shitty team, of course. They have lost 12 straight road games since April 8 and are 3-16 away from Camden Yards. That .158 winning percentage works out to only 26 wins over an entire season!

Hey! I've heard more than enough of your shit, Mr. Blogger!

Brandon Belt Accuses Umpire Doug Eddings Of Making An Incorrect Call To "Get The Game Over With", Something Eddings Has Joked About Several Times In The Past

Brandon Belt of the Giants accused plate umpire Doug Eddings of calling a game-ending third strike on a pitch off the plate to "get the game over with".

The Giants trailed the Reds 6-3 in the bottom of the ninth on Wednesday night as Belt batted with a runner on second and two outs. Reds closer Raisel Iglesias's full-count pitch was clearly outside the strike zone and Eddings called a third strike. (A correct call would have sent Belt to first base and brought up Evan Longoria - who was 3-for-4 - as the potential tying run.) The game lasted 2:41.

Pitch #7:

I think 99.9 percent of the umpires are great ... But there's just some times when you have a feeling that one or two of 'em are trying to get the game over with, whether it's through what they say or what they do. And that just can't happen; you can't have those guys affecting careers and affecting games like that. ... We had a really good hitter coming up after that who could've tied the game for us. And we never got that chance, because he calls a ball that's so far off the plate, I don't even think I could've touched it if I swung it.

Belt added that Eddings has said in the past that he tries to get through games quickly.
It's tough because you hope that an umpire doesn't affect a game like that but he did, and you're not sure if it's on purpose, either. I've heard that guy multiple times say or insinuate that he's trying to get through the game fast. And then he makes calls like that that I can't imagine that he really thought was a strike. You've got to wonder.
Crew chief Joe West, who was umpiring third base, declined to respond: "I don't comment on postgame comments and things said in anger."

Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic noted that since Eddings, a 20-year veteran, blew a dropped-third-strike call in the 2005 ALCS, he had not worked another postseason series.

Belt's accusation comes roughly two weeks after Todd Frazier of the Mets voiced his concerns about numerous blown calls in every game and MLB's apparent apathy towards the situation.

Is having plate umpires call strikes on pitches near the plate but out of the strike zone part of Commissioner Rob Manfred's agenda to speed up games?

May 16, 2018

G43: Red Sox 6, Athletics 4

Athletics - 000 020 101 - 4  5  1
Red Sox   - 300 003 00x - 6  9  0
J.D. Martinez's two-run homer highlighted a three-run first inning and Xander Bogaerts's three-run dong opened up a close game in the sixth.

Chris Sale (5-2-2-4-9, 102) walked four - the most in any of his 42 Boston starts. He worked fast, but his innings were not quick: he threw at least 22 pitches in three of his five innings: 22-16-18 24-22.

Oakland hoped to sweep a three-game series at Fenway Park for the first time since September 1990, but Trevor Cahill (5-5-3-1-1, 88) made that unlikely as Boston led 3-0 after four batters. Mookie Betts singled to left and took second on a fielding error by Chad Pinder and Andrew Benintendi singled to right. Hanley Ramirez grounded out, scoring Betts. Then Martinez hit his two-run homer to deep center. (He has reached base in 21 straight games, a career high.)

Cahill settled down right after that. After Benintendi singled to start the third, the A's starter retired the next nine batters. Cahill got only one out in the air in his five innings, and 11 outs on the ground.

Sale gave up a single to Marcus Semien on his first pitch of the game, but did not allow another hit until Semien pounded a two-run homer to left in the fifth. That closed the score to 3-2.

Ramirez singled to center off Ryan Dull in the fifth. Martinez walked and Bogaerts crushed a 1-1 pitch over everything in left. Boston's 3-2 lead ballooned to 6-3. Dull also gave up singles to Eduardo Nunez and Christian Vazquez, but escaped when Stephen Piscotty caught Betts's fly down the right field line and tumbled into the stands. Even with Red Sox fans in the area applauding the catch, manager Alex Cora challenged the inning-ending out - and it was upheld.

Oakland got two solo home runs - Matt Joyce off Heath Hembree in the seventh and Matt Olson off Craig Kimbrel in the ninth - but they were nothing to cause a Red Sox fan to worry.

The Red Sox are 12-12 since their torrid 17-2 start. They are 0.5 GB the Yankees, who had their game today in Washington postponed.

Tomorrow had been a scheduled off-day, but the Red Sox and Orioles will make up a postponed game from April 16. Boston and Baltimore will play a four-game series. After a 8-27 start, the Orioles have won five of their last seven games.
Trevor Cahill / Chris Sale
Betts, RF
Benintendi, CF
Ramirez, DH
Martinez, LF
Bogaerts, SS
Moreland, 1B
Nunez, 2B
Devers, 3B
Vazquez, C
Last Friday in Toronto, Chris Sale became the third pitcher in Red Sox history to have a start with no walks and at least 15 strikeouts:
Roger Clemens     August 21, 1984       0/15   vs Royals
Roger Clemens     April 29, 1986        0/20   vs Mariners
Roger Clemens     September 18, 1996    0/20   vs Tigers 
Pedro Martinez    May 7, 1999           0/15   vs Angels
Pedro Martinez    September 10, 1999    0/17   vs Yankees 
Pedro Martinez    May 12, 2000          0/15   vs Orioles
Pedro Martinez    July 23, 2000         0/15   vs White Sox
Chris Sale        May 11, 2018          0/15   vs Blue Jays
Sale's game is the only one on that list that the Red Sox lost.

Also: It was only the second 15+K game by a Red Sox pitcher since April 2001, when Pedro did it last. Jon Lester struck out 15 on May 3, 2014.

Here is a list of the 15+K games by Red Sox pitchers since 1908. There have been 21, with 16 of them from either Pedro (10) and Fat Billy (6).

Brian Cashman Suspected Robinson Cano Used PEDs As A Yankee

Whaddaya know ... Robbie Cano!
Mike Mazzeo, Daily News:
Brian Cashman says he didn't have any knowledge that Robinson Cano was doping during his days as a Yankee.

But the GM did seem to suggest that he had his suspicions.

"I would have no knowledge, and if I did have knowledge I would be compelled to tell baseball about it or I'd risk a million dollar or more fine. ... [P]art of Major League Baseball's initiatives is if I have any knowledge of anybody past or present I'm obligated to convey that knowledge to Major League Baseball, and I take that seriously. And so knowledge is one thing, suspicion is another."

Later when asked to clarify what he meant by "suspicion," Cashman walked back his stance a bit, saying he was speaking in generalities.

"I never suggested I had suspicions of Cano," he said. ...

Adding to the suspicion is Cano's two best Bronx buddies, Alex Rodriguez and Melky Cabrera, who both served doping suspensions.

Cano was banned for using Furosemide, a diuretic that is often used to mask PED use.
Joel Sherman, Post:
[T]he Yankees offered many explanations for why they never went all-out to retain Robinson Cano as a free agent following 2013 ...

But one reason — the one not broadcast — was that Melky Cabrera and Alex Rodriguez already had been suspended for their association with illegal performance-enhancing drugs. And those were Cano's best friends on the Yankees. And while no one can be found guilty by association, the Yanks were apprehensive enough about the tightness of that group to wonder if Cano would ever be the next domino to fall.

He now is. ...

Cano said [Furosemide] was given to him by a licensed doctor in his native Dominican Republic for "a medical ailment" that he does not specify. ...

Cano never disputed taking the substance or that the substance is banned, only why it was in his body, and neither the Independent Program Administrator nor MLB believed his story.
John Harper, Daily News:
Fair or not, it always felt like merely a matter of time before Robinson Cano wound up getting busted for PED use — and likely costing himself future election to the Hall of Fame.

His close friend, Melky Cabrera, and his mentor, Alex Rodriguez, each served suspensions in years past for PED use, and the name of a spokeswoman for his charity foundation, Sonia Cruz, showed up on infamous list of Biogenesis Clinic clients list back in 2013.

None of that meant Cano should have been judged guilty by association, but it was hard not to think those connections were relevant. ...

There was always some thought the Yankees had such concerns as well ... GM Brian Cashman all but confirmed those concerns ... before the Yankees-Nationals game in Washington, D.C. ...
Cano actually failed the test in spring training ...

So when his 80-game suspension was announced it was no surprise that Cano was ready with a dog-ate-my-homework story about how this was the fault of some unknown doctor in the Dominican Republic who prescribed furosemide as medication for an unknown ailment.

As if a player making huge money wouldn't consult with his team's medical people and/or his high-powered agents about using furosemide, which is ... listed as a PED in MLB's joint drug agreement.

Please, Robbie, we know too much by now.