April 29, 2017

G23: Cubs at Red Sox, 4 PM

Cubs    - 
Red Sox - 
John Lackey / Steven Wright
Bogaerts, SS
Benintendi, LF
Betts, RF
Ramirez, DH
Moreland, 1B
Pedroia, 2B
Bradley, CF
Vazquez, C
Hernandez, 3B
MLB's preview states that much of Wright's trouble on the mound (8.66 ERA) "can be attributed to his arm angle being a few inches higher than it should be". ... So, he's going to fix that, right?

Many Red Sox players felt a buzz in the ball park last night. Christian Vazquez: "It was like a World Series game. They have a great team and great hitters, good players. We do too. Hope to see them in the World Series."

Why did Dustin Pedroia hit sixth (for the first time*) last night? Manager John Farrell: "Looked for ways to get a little bit more running speed at the top of the order. Had a chance to talk to Pedey about this ... He's working to regain his timing and getting back into it ... I wouldn't say this was a one-day deal. We'll see how it goes."

*: Pedroia has now batted in each spot in the order in his 12-year career.

April 28, 2017

G22: Red Sox 5, Cubs 4

Cubs    - 101 000 200 - 4 11  0
Red Sox - 500 000 00x - 5 13  2
Chris Sale must have been crying in a corner of the dugout. The Red Sox stormed out of the gate on Friday night and smacked Jake Arrieta around for five quick runs. Boston had scored only 13 runs in its last seven games. Sale pitched two of those seven games and in the 16 innings he was on the mound, his teammates scored exactly one run.

Arrieta took the mound with a 1-0 lead, courtesy of a home run by Kris Bryant in the top of the first, on Drew Pomeranz's 7th pitch of the night. Arrieta retired Xander Bogaerts on groundout that he fielded himself, but he would have to throw 35 more pitches before recording his second out.

The rest of the inning: Andrew Benintendi homered to right. Mookie Betts doubled to deep center. Hanley Ramirez singled to right, Betts scored. Ramírez to second on wild pitch. Mitch Moreland doubled to deep right, Ramírez scored. Moreland to third on wild pitch. Pedroia walked. Jackie Bradley singled to center, Moreland scored, Pedroia to third. Christian Vazquez singled to right, Pedroia scored, Bradley to second. Marco Hernandez flied out to left. Bogaerts struck out swinging.

Arrieta (4.1-10-5-3-5, 98) finally headed back to the dugout having thrown 42 pitches. He has allowed at least four earned runs in the first inning in back-to-back starts for the first time in his career.

Pomeranz (6-6-2-2-7, 95) turned the game over to the pen for the last three innings. Right away, the Cubs struck for two runs, putting a man on against Robby Scott and scoring twice off Joe Kelly. (One run scored on Kelly's wild pitch.) Heath Hembree allowed two singles with one out in the eighth, but Fernando Abad came in and struck out Matt Szczur and Kyle Schwarber to end the threat. (Schwarber struck out four times in the game.)

In the ninth, Craig Kimbrel fanned Bryant and Anthony Rizzo before Ben Zobrist doubled to right. Unfazed, Kimbrel threw a ball to Addison Russell before getting the Cubs' shortstop to swing and miss at three straight pitches.

Ramirez, Pedroia, Vazquez, and Hernandez all had two hits each. Five different players scored a run and five different players had an RBI.
Jake Arrieta / Drew Pomeranz
Bogaerts, SS
Benintendi, LF
Betts, RF
Ramirez, DH
Moreland, 1B
Pedroia, 2B
Bradley, CF
Vazquez, C
Hernandez, 3B
The World Champion Chicago Cubs visit Fenway Park for three games.

In the first game of the last Cubs-Red Sox series in Boston (in 2014), Jake Arrieta did not allow a hit until Stephen Drew singled with two outs in the eighth.

Since losing Game 6 (and the 1918 World Series) at Fenway, the Cubs have played six games in Boston:

May 20-22, 2011: Red Sox won 2 of 3: 15-5, 3-9, 5-1

June 30-July 2, 2014: Red Sox lost 3 of 3: 0-2, 1-2, 9-16

In the final game of the 2014 series, there was only one zero in Chicago's traditional AB-R-H-RBI box score.

April 27, 2017

G21: Yankees 3, Red Sox 0

Yankees - 000 100 002 - 3  9  0
Red Sox - 000 000 000 - 0  3  0
Masahiro Tanaka (9-3-0-0-3, 97) pitched his first complete game since August 2015, facing only 29 batters. Xander Bogaerts's single leading off the fifth inning was the Red Sox's last baserunner of the night. Tanaka retired the last 14 Boston batters, and allowed only one runner to advance as far as second base.

The Red Sox (11-10) have scored two runs or fewer in five of their last seven games.

The time of the game was 2:21. Alex Speier tweeted that the last nine-inning Red Sox-Yankees game played in 2:21 or quicker was nearly 23 years ago: May 6, 1994 (Yankees 3-1 in 2:13).

Once again, Chris Sale (8-8-3-0-10, 109) was forced to pitch with no margin for error, thanks to a lack of run support that has plagued him in all five starts this season. Sale began by striking out six of the first eight Yankees and later became only the fourth pitcher in Red Sox history to strike out 10+ batters in four consecutive starts (joining Roger Clemens, Pedro Martinez, and Jon Lester).

New York's first run was unearned. Aaron Hicks dropped a single into right field to begin the fourth. He went to second as Chase Headley grounded back to Sale; if Sale had let the grounder go through, Dustin Pedroia might have been able to start a double play, but (a) nothing is certain and (b) Sale's natural reaction was to knock down the ball. Hicks went to third on a passed ball, as Sandy Leon seemed crossed-up on a 1-1 pitch to Matt Holliday. Leon did not even get his mitt on the ball as it caromed off his left shinguard. On Sale's 10th pitch to Holliday, the Yankees' DH lined out to left and Hicks tagged and scored.

Sale had thrown 103 pitches through eight innings, and manager John Farrell let him start the ninth. It was the opposite decision than the one Farrell made in Sale's last outing, which was to pull Sale after eight innings and 102 pitches. This time, Sale gave up three quick hits: two singles and an RBI-double to Holliday. Heath Hembree allowed an inherited runner to score.

Hanley Ramirez had two of Boston's three hits. He singled in the second inning, advanced to second on Mitch Moreland's groundout, but was stranded there as Bogaerts flied to right and Jackie Bradley grounded to first. Ramirez was Boston's next baserunner, singling with two outs in the fourth and being forced at second by Moreland. In the fifth, Bogaerts was erased when Bradley grounded into a 3-6-3 double play. And that was the extent of the Red Sox's offense.

NESN Note: While reading a promo late in the game, Jerry Remy mispronounced Theo Epstein's last name, pronouncing the second syllable like beer stein rather than "steen". He didn't even bother to correct himself. ... And a couple of minutes later, Remy defended home plate umpire Mark Carlson calling a strike on a Tanaka pitch that was clearly out of the strike zone. Remy's reasoning was that because Tanaka had been around the plate all night long, he deserved the incorrect call, and Carlson was justified in changing the rules to benefit the Yankees starter.
Masahiro Tanaka / Chris Sale
Pedroia, 2B
Benintendi, LF
Betts, RF
Ramirez, DH
Moreland, 1B
Bogaerts, SS
Bradley, CF
Leon, C
Hernandez, 3B
With the essential caveat that it means absolutely nothing to tonight's game, Sale has the lowest career ERA versus the Yankees (1.17 (10 games, seven starts)) with at least 50 innings pitched since earned runs became a stat in 1912.

How Sale fared against Derek Jeter or Jorge Posada back in April 2011 has nothing to do with how he will pitch to Aaron Judge and Roland Torreyes tonight, so why announcers always cite stats like this is perplexing. It is nothing more than Sale's numbers against various people wearing a similar looking shirt - which is pretty silly. It's no more informative than how he pitches on Thursdays, which in my experience, announcers never cite (though that is probably only because they do not have the information).

ESPN reports that the Red Sox and Yankees have split the 166 games they have played over the last nine seasons: 41-41 at Fenway and 42-42 at Yankee Stadium(s).

And I'm quoting this from SoSHer Kun Aguero for no other reason than I read it this morning and it is the 100% truth:
The strike zone in MLB is a joke. High pitches are strikes one day, balls the next. Strikes to one batter, balls to the next batter. Low balls are balls one day, strikes the next. Inside, outside, etc. If we have the technology to get an accurate strike zone electronically, I'm all for using it. And never mind the "human element" removal bullshit. We're not removing humans from the game. If it's a strike today, it should be a strike tomorrow. And next week, and forever. I have seen the EXACT same location called a strike and a ball in the same at bat. It's fucking ridiculous, and needs to stop.

April 26, 2017

G20: Yankees 3, Red Sox 1

Yankees - 020 001 000 - 3  5  0
Red Sox - 000 000 001 - 1  4  2
On a foggy night at Fenway, Luis Severino (7-3-0-2-6, 100) kept the Red Sox at bay and Aaron Judge celebrated his 25th birthday with a two-run homer off Rick Porcello (6.2-5-3-4-9, 118).

Aroldis Chapman needed 33 pitches to dispatch Boston in the bottom of the ninth, as the Red Sox left men at first and third.

Judge became the third Yankee to homer on his birthday at Fenway Park, joining Yogi Berra (May 12, 1947) and Roger Maris (September 10, 1966). ... Since beginning the season 1-4, New York has won 11 of 14.

Boston baserunners over the first eight innings:
2nd: Hanley Ramirez singled with one out. Two fielder's choice groundouts followed.

3rd: Marco Hernandez singled to lead off. He was stranded at third.

4th: Mookie Betts reached on a leadoff infield single. Mitch Moreland walked. Ramirez GIDP and Jackie Bradley flied to left.

7th: Bradley walked with two outs, was forced at second.
Chapman's control in the ninth was not sharp. He walked Andrew Benintendi and when Betts doubled to left, Boston had two men on and no outs. Chris Young batted for Moreland and grounded out to third. The Yankees might have had a play at the plate, but third baseman Chase Headley took the more likely out at first.

Betts moved to third on a wild pitch and Ramirez walked. Bradley represented the winning run - but he fell behind 0-2, fouled off a pitch, then struck out. Josh Rutledge fouled off three pitches on a 2-2 count - one of them was a long drive to left on a slider he was unfortunately a little out in front of - before striking out swinging.
Luis Severino / Rick Porcello
Bogaerts, SS
Benintendi, CF
Betts, RF
Moreland, 1B
Ramirez, DH
Bradley, CF
Rutledge, 3B
Hernandez, 2B
Leon, C
About last night, from Elias:
White Sox batters came through with seven two-out hits producing eight runs in their 10-5 win over the Royals on Tuesday. Chicago entered the day with a .182 team batting average with two outs, which was the third lowest mark in the major leagues ahead of Kansas City (.143) and San Diego (.170).

Trea Turner hit for the cycle and drove in seven runs leading the Nationals to a 15-12 win over the Rockies on Tuesday. Turner became the eighth player in major-league history to drive in seven or more runs in a game while hitting for the cycle...

[Eric] Thames’ eight homers against the Reds [this month] tie the most any player has hit against any team in a calendar month in MLB history. Three other players went deep eight times against a particular opponent in a calendar month: Babe Ruth against the Philadelphia Athletics in May of 1930, Willie Stargell against [Atlanta] in April 1971 and Deron Johnson against the Montreal Expos in July 1971.

The Cubs beat the Pirates despite their offense mustering only one run and two hits on Tuesday night. That marked only the third time in the last 78 years the Cubs won a game while producing only one run and two or fewer hits, having also done that on June 30, 1964 against the Reds at Wrigley Field (1-0 win with two hits) and on September 1, 1999 against the Padres at Qualcomm Stadium (1-0 win with two hits).

The Tigers and Mariners put on an offensive show in a game Detroit would win by a score of 19-9 on Tuesday night. A total of 55 batters reach based safely via hit, walk or hit by pitch in the game – 31 by Detroit and 24 by Seattle. Prior to Tuesday, the last game that featured at least 55 base runners reaching via hit walk or hit by pitch in a nine-inning game occurred nearly nine years ago, when the Marlins and Rockies combined for 56 base runners on July 4, 2008.
"Slide" Of The Year? Chris Coghlan of the Blue Jays.

April 25, 2017

G20: Yankees at Red Sox, Postponed (Rain)

Update: Tonight's game has been postponed due to inclement weather.

The game will be played as part of a day-night doubleheader on Sunday, July 16.

Also: Pablo Sandoval was put on the 10-day disabled list with a right knee sprain. Josh Rutledge has been activated from the DL and added to the roster in his place.

As ESPN's Scott Lauber notes, Sandoval's injury "comes at a particularly inopportune time, considering shortstop Xander Bogaerts is playing with a sore left thumb, second baseman Dustin Pedroia has missed the past two games with a sore left ankle and left knee, and utility infielder Brock Holt is on the disabled list with vertigo".
Yankees - 
Red Sox - 
Luis Severino / Rick Porcello

Matt Barnes was suspended for four games for throwing a pitch near Manny Machado's head. He will appeal the decision.

ESPN's Buster Olney says the Red Sox bear 100% of the blame for this "colossally ridiculous and dangerous" situation:
You do wonder if somebody in the Red Sox clubhouse was spurred into action by outside forces: In at least one case, a reporter suggested that retaliation against Machado would be appropriate ...

On Monday, there was a lot of speculation around baseball that [Dustin] Pedroia might have to make amends with others wearing Red Sox uniforms after he criticized his team's actions.
Pedroia (left knee and ankle soreness) is day to day. Pablo Sandoval (right knee sprain) will have an MRI this afternoon.

April 24, 2017

Benintendi And The Babe

Andrew Benintendi went 5-for-5 on Sunday against the Orioles. His previous high for hits in a game was three (which he did twice last year and three times already this season (April 11, 16, 17)).

The five hits came in only his 51st major league game. Joe Posnanski wondered: "Has anyone else had a five-hit game just 51 games into his big league career?" Posnanski discovered that five-hit games are not as rare as you might expect. In fact, in the last 100 years, 83 players have had a five-hit game at some point in their first 51 MLB games.

When it comes to Red Sox history, however, Benintendi is the youngest Red Sox hitter in 50 years to have five hits in a game. Tony Conigliaro had five hits against the Yankees on April 16, 1967. However, Conigliaro came to the plate nine times that day because that game went 18 innings; his hits came in the 3rd, 6th, 7th, 9th, and 15th innings.

When it comes to nine-inning games only, Benintendi is the youngest Boston hitter with five hits since Dalton Jones did it in the second game of a doubleheader on July 9, 1965.

Finally, Benintendi is actually the youngest player in Red Sox history to go 5-for-5 or better in a game (22 years, 291 days). The previous youngest was Babe Ruth (23 years, 92 days).

On May 9, 1918, Ruth went 5-for-5 against the Washington Senators. He had a single, three doubles, and a triple. He also pitched a complete game, but lost in 10 innings. The next day, Ruth started in left field, the first time he would play the outfield in a major league game (he had started three games at first base earlier in the week).

A Bowling Challenge For Mookie Betts

Mookie Betts has bowled at least four perfect games.

But has he ever bowled a perfect game in less than 86 seconds?