Saturday, June 30, 2012

Darnell McDonald Designated For Assignment

With the abundance of outfielders on the 40-man roster plus Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford on the DL, there would eventually have to be some cuts. The first of these occurred today when Darnell McDonald was designated for assignment by the Red Sox. Ever since his Red Sox debut in the 2010 season where he batted .270/9/34, McDonald has largely been a disappointment for the Red Sox. He's taken over the role of a fourth/fifth outfielder in recent seasons and, while fairly good against lefties, has struggled in the long run. Last season he batted .236/6/24 and this year was only batting .214/2/9 at the time of his cut. However, this season he wasn't even hitting lefties well as he was equally bad against both lefties and righties (batting .214 against both). There are going to be some serious cuts in the Red Sox outfield in coming weeks with Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford returning. This could involve demotions or trades of Daniel Nava, Cody Ross, or Ryan Kalish. I wish McDonald the best in his future baseball career and I'll try to remember his 2010 self rather than 2011 and 2012.

Red Sox Cook Up Shutout Of Mariners (41-36)

I feel extremely proud of this blog, and this post today was my 1000th post and I'd like to thank all the fans that keep this blog going. On another note, let's celebrate the win!

Cook allowed two hits in a shutout
For quite a while, this game was looking like another pitcher's duel as neither team scored for a while. Aaron Cook and Hector Noesi practically matched each other pitch for pitch. Both teams were hitless until Ryan Kalish's single in the third and Ichiro Suzuki's infield single in the fourth. Aaron Cook was incredibly economical as he was throwing far fewer than 10 pitches an inning on average and was inducing grounders right and left. The game was 0-0 heading into the top of the fifth-- but the Red Sox changed that very quickly with a big inning. Will Middlebrooks was leading off and promptly hit a hanging slider to dead left field for a long home run to give the Red Sox the lead. Cody Ross followed him up with a blast to left that made it into the upper deck and traveled an estimated 432 feet. Three batters later, it was Daniel Nava crushing a ball to right to make it 3-0 on three solo home runs.

Ross hit his 12th home run 432 feet
Cook took care of the Mariners 1-2-3 in the bottom of the fifth before the Red Sox got right back to business in the sixth. David Ortiz doubled into right-center to start the inning and bring up Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Salty took advantage of a first pitch fastball down the middle and drove it to left-center for a two-run homer to make it 5-0. After an Adrian Gonzalez single, Hector Noesi was taken out of the game with an unimpressive line of 5 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 1 BB, 0 K despite being dominant for the first four innings. Shawn Kelley came into the game and shut the Red Sox down for two innings-- striking out a batter and allowing no hits or runs. Oliver Perez came in afterwards and was almost as good-- allowing two hits and walking one but allowing no runs. Meanwhile, Aaron Cook continued to dominate and finished his night with a ridiculous 81 pitch, two-hit shutout.

Bright Spots:
Aaron Cook- 9 IP, 0 H, 2 R, 2 K, W (2-1)
Daniel Nava- 1-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI
Jarrod Saltalamacchia- 1-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI
Will Middlebrooks- 2-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI
Cody Ross- 1-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI

Dull Spots:
Nobody!

Player of the Game:
Aaron Cook- Cook was absolutely fantastic last night, allowing just two hits and inducing 14 groundouts in a complete game shutout as he is now 2-1/4.32/2 on the year.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Morales's Outing Wasted As Sox Lose Heartbreaker (40-36)

Morales was great
Normally when the Red Sox pitching can hold a team to less than three or four runs-- the Red Sox will win the game just because of their offense. However, last night their offense was held in check by Mariners' ace Felix Hernandez. But the Red Sox weren't just blanked in this game as Franklin Morales certainly held his own against the weak bats of the Mariners. This game was a heartbreaker though, as the Red Sox stranded 10 runners in the game-- all in key situations. With two outs in the top of the third inning, singles by Mike Aviles and Daniel Nava had the Red Sox in business. They would be wasted though as Dustin Pedroia flew out to center fielder Franklin Gutierrez. Gutierrez actually had a pretty scary moment after a leadoff single in the fourth inning. On a pickoff throw by Franklin Morales, the ball deflected off Adrian Gonzalez's glove and hit Gutierrez on the side of his face. Michael Saunders came in to play center for the rest of the game and the M's didn't score in the inning.

Saltalamacchia and Ortiz
commiserate after the tough loss
In the bottom of the seventh, the Mariners got their first little rally going with a one out single by Justin Smoak. Miguel Olivo struck out and Dustin Ackley nearly grounded out to end the inning but a botched catch by Adrian Gonzalez put runners at the corners with two away. Morales got Brendan Ryan to ground out to end the inning but it was too close for comfort. That would be Morales's last inning as he exited with a line of 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K. Andrew Miller came into the ballgame and pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning before the Red Sox got a rally going in the ninth. A one out single by David Ortiz and walk by Jarrod Saltalamacchia put two runners on with just one out. Adrian Gonzalez came up and split the gap with a fly ball to deep left-center-- however, a fantastic running catch stopped the runs from scoring and effectively ended the scoring chance. The Mariners got a real rally in the ninth when they put runners at first and second with one out. John Jaso came up and hit a clean single to right; Cody Ross fielded it cleanly and made a great throw home. Casper Wells would have been out by several feet, but Jarrod Saltalamacchia dropped the ball and the game was over.

Bright Spots:
Franklin Morales- 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K
Andrew Miller- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R

Dull Spots
Scott Atchison- 0.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, L (2-1)
Dustin Pedroia- 0-4, 2 K, 2 LOB
Will Middlebrooks- 0-4, 2 K, 4 LOB
Cody Ross- 0-3, 2 K, 1 LOB
Ryan Kalish- 0-3, 3 K

Player of the Game:
Franklin Morales- It's a shame that Morales had to make this outing when the Red Sox weren't scoring because he pitched extremely well and is now 1-1/2.59/44 on the season.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Series Preview #25: Red Sox (40-35) @ Mariners (32-45)

The Red Sox haven't lost a series in a while-- dating back to being swept by the Nationals from June 8-10-- and they'll look to keep that going in Seattle. In tonight's series opener, the Red Sox will send Franklin Morales (1-1/3.12/37) against Mariners ace and perennial Cy Young contender Felix Hernandez (5-5/3.36/101. With Hernandez going for the Mariners, I think it would be foolish to predict a win. In Friday night's game, the Red Sox will get to see Aaron Cook (1-1/9.39/0) square off against Hector Noesi (2-9/5.50/56)-- who is winless in his last nine outings. I trust that the Red Sox can keep that streak going with Cook on the mound who impressed in his first start back from injury. In the third game of this series, the Red Sox will start Josh Beckett (4-7/4.14/56) against Mariners' rookie Erasmo Ramirez (0-2/4.18/23). Coming off his injury to face one of the worst teams in baseball, I trust Beckett to win this one. The final game of this series should be a close one with Felix Doubront (8-4/4.54/87), who has not pitched well lately, against Jason Vargas (7-7/4.54/74). This should be a very close game but I trust the Red Sox' bats more than anything else so I'll predict a win here. Bold Prediction: Red Sox win series 3-1. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Red Sox Ride Huge First Inning Into Third Place (40-35)

Lester earned the win with seven
strong innings
The Red Sox are as hot as they've been all year right now as with a win today, coupled with a Rays' loss, the Red Sox moved into third place in the AL East. After a Brett Lawrie double to lead things off, the Blue Jays scored first when Colby Rasmus drove him in with a soft single to center. However, the Red Sox really turned things around with a huge first inning off Jays' ace Ricky Romero. After he walked Daniel Nava to start things off, Dustin Pedroia doubled to right-center to tie the game. A walk and a single loaded the bases with no outs for Adrian Gonzalez. Two runs came in to score as first baseman Edwin Encarnacion botched the play on the grounder. A Will Middlebrooks groundout and a Mike Aviles single would make it 5-1 in the first inning. A 3-2 single up the middle by Darnell McDonald would be the last run of the first as the Sox left with a 6-1 lead.

Ortiz hit the 399th home run of his
fruitful career
After two one out walks in the second, Adrian Gonzalez singled in another run to make it 7-1. The Jays got one back in the fourth when Jose Bautista absolutely clobbered one over the monster. However, after a walk and a double to start off the first, the Red Sox would answer for that Blue Jays' run. A bloop RBI single by Adrian Gonzalez and a Mike Aviles double to left-center made it 9-2. In the fifth, the Red Sox reached the double digit mark as David Ortiz crushed a home run-- the 399th of his career-- over the bullpens in right-center. In the sixth, the Blue Jays got a pair of runs of their own when Edwin Encarnacion crushed a ball over the monster to make it 10-4. The score stayed put there as Jon Lester pitched very well-- exiting after seven with a line of 7 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 0 BB, 4 K. He earned the win as Mark Melancon and Clayton Mortensen pitched a pair of scoreless innings in an all around good win for the Red Sox.

Bright Spots:
Mark Melancon- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R
Clayton Mortensen- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R
Dustin Pedroia- 1-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI
David Ortiz- 1-2, 4 R, 3 BB, 1 HR, 1 RBI
Cody Ross- 2-3, 2 R
Adrian Gonzalez- 2-5, 1 R, 3 RBI
Mike Aviles- 2-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI
Darnell McDonald- 1-3, 1 RBI

Dull Spots:
Nobody!

Player of the Game:
Adrian Gonzalez- Gonzalez put together a great game in the offensive marathon by going 2-5 with 3 RBIs to become .269/6/43 this season.

Red Sox Rally Late To Outlast Jays (39-35)

Dice-K pitched very well but did
not earn the win
With a win tonight and a Rays' loss, the Red Sox would move out of last and just a game out of third place-- and they got it with an exciting win over the Blue Jays. Daisuke Matsuzaka was the beneficiary of some bad defense in the first inning as, after a leadoff double by Brett Lawrie, Colby Rasmus seemingly grounded out to short. Mike Aviles took a chance (rightfully) at getting Lawrie at third but a bad throw allowed him to score. Later in the inning, Edwin Encarnacion seemingly grounded out to third but he made a bad throw that allowed Lawrie to score and give the Blue Jays a 1-0 lead. The score stayed at 1-0 for a long time as Dice-K settled down nicely and Aaron Laffey really kept him in check. The score was still 1-0 when Dice-K was taken out of the game with a line of 5.2 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 5 K. And when Laffey was taken out of the game with a line of 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K.

Pedroia had a tie-breaking two-run
single in the seventh
It would be the inning after Laffey left that the Red Sox' bats really got going. With two outs and nobody on base, Jarrod Saltalamacchia lifted a high line drive to left-center that got out of the ballpark to tie things up at 1-1. That homer evidently lit a fire under the Red Sox' offense as the batter after him, Ryan Kalish doubled down the first base line. Daniel Nava was hit by a pitch and Mike Aviles worked a walk to load the bases with two outs off of former Red Sox' reliever David Pauley. On an 0-1 count, Pedroia lined one right back up the middle to score two runs and give the Red Sox a 3-1 lead-- Aviles was caught in between second and third to end the inning but we'll take it. After a leadoff double by David Ortiz and a single by Cody Ross to follow him up, Adrian Gonzalez doubled off the monster in left-center to score Ortiz. Later in the inning, a Will Middlebrooks sacrifice fly would make it 5-1. That would be the final score in a good game for the Red Sox.

Bright Spots:
Daisuke Matsuzaka- 5.2 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 5 K
Scott Atchison- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R
Vicente Padilla- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 K
Alfredo Aceves- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R
Dustin Pedroia- 1-3, 2 RBI
David Ortiz- 2-4, 1 R, 2 2B
Adrian Gonzalez- 2-4, 2 2B, 1 RBI
Jarrod Saltalamacchia- 1-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI
Ryan Kalish- 1-2, 1 R, 1 2B

Dull Spots:
Brent Lillibridge- 0-2, 2 LOB

Player of the Game:
Dustin Pedroia- Pedroia's clutch two-run two-out tie-breaking single in the seventh was really a great moment as he appears to be breaking out of his slump-- he is now .272/5/30.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Rainy Day In All Respects For Red Sox (38-35)

Doubront wasn't at his best
This was a disappointing game for the Red Sox as they came back from an early deficit only to be thwarted again. After a leadoff single to start to game, a Colby Rasmus home run to right (just eclipsing the wall) gave the Jays an early 2-0 lead. After Jose Bautista reached base on an error later in the inning, he was driven in on a double high off the monster by Edwin Encarnacion to make it 3-0. Doubront finally got the first out of the inning after that but Yunel Escobar still had a single to keep the rally going. Rajai Davis grounded into a potential double play, but with his speed beat it out and Encarnacion scored from third to make it 4-0. The Red Sox almost immediately mounted a comeback effort in the bottom of the first though, as Dustin Pedroia tripled to right with one out. David Ortiz absolutely got ahold of one after that and crushed one to right-center for a two-run homer to make it 4-2.

The game was delayed during the
seventh inning
Ben Francisco of the Jays doubled to lead off the second inning, however, and moved up to third on a single by Brett Lawrie. Colby Rasmus singled up to middle to make it 5-2 as Doubront definitely was not working. However, the Red Sox offense continually tried to bail him out as they put runners at the corners with two outs in the third. It quickly became a bad day for Blue Jays' second baseman Kelly Johnson. Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit what appeared to be a routine ground ball to Johnson, but he bobbled it and it allowed a run to score. On the very next play, Adrian Gonzalez hit a hard ground ball to the right of Johnson and it deflected off his glove to allow another run in and make it 5-4. The Sox finally fully came back in the fifth as after a leadoff double by Cody Ross, Ryan Kalish drove him in with a single up the middle. However, two run homers for the Jays-- J.P. Arencibia in the sixth and Jose Bautista in the seventh made it 9-5. The Red Sox scored again in the eighth on a homer by Ortiz but it wasn't enough as they fell 9-6.

Bright Spots:
Clayton Mortensen- 2.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 K
Dustin Pedroia- 2-4, 2 R, 1 3B
David Ortiz- 2-3, 3 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI
Adrian Gonzalez- 1-4, 1 RBI
Ryan Kalish- 2-4, 1 RBI

Dull Spots:
Felix Doubront- 6 IP, 11 H, 7 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, L (8-4)
Matt Albers- 0.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 BB
Daniel Nava- 0-5, 2 K, 1 LOB
Jarrod Saltalamacchia- 0-4, 2 K, 1 LOB
Nick Punto- 0-4, 1 K, 2 LOB

Player of the Game:
David Ortiz- Ortiz continued his fantastic season by going 2-3 with two home runs, three RBIs, and three runs scored to became a remarkable .304/20/52.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Series Preview #24: Blue Jays (37-35) @ Red Sox (38-34)

This should be both a good series and an important series in the current standings. The Red Sox currently stand one game out of last at 38-34 while the Blue Jays are in last with a 37-35 record as the spot has bounced around all year long. Looking to put the Red Sox out of last by two games tonight will be Felix Doubront (8-3/4.31/85) against Henderson Alvarez (3-6/4.30/27). This should be a close game but I have to go with Doubront because of his strikeout numbers and the Red Sox' offense. Tomorrow night's game will feature Daisuke Matsuzaka (0-2/6.06/15) and Aaron Laffey (0-0/3.00/4)-- each having been recently called up. Laffey will be making his first start of the year and has a career 9.28 ERA against the Red Sox (compared to Dice-K's 3.46 mark against the Jays) so I have to go with the Dice. The final match up of this series should be a good one as each team gives the nod to their ace with Jon Lester (4-5/4.48/75) and Ricky Romero (8-1/4.34/69) going for their respective teams. This should be a very close game but Lester's 3.08 mark against the Jays compared to Romero's 6.45 mark against the Sox makes me say Jon. Bold Prediction: Red Sox sweep series 3-0. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Youkilis Traded To White Sox For Too Little

The Red Sox have made a mistake in trading Kevin Youkilis. While it's true that the beloved Youk needed to go, he didn't necessarily have to go for this little. The Red Sox have traded Youkilis to the White Sox for 25 year old pitcher Zach Stewart and utility man Brent Lillibridge. The emergence of Will Middlebrooks ever since his call up have had Youkilis up in trade rumors. However, these rumors have really been circulating the past few days and today reports indicate that the Chicago White Sox will be his new home. Youkilis's value is fairly low this year as he's only batting .233/4/14 but as a traditionally solid corner infielder, I'd have thought they could have gotten something good. But Zach Stewart-- a post-prospect who is yet to prove himself at the big league level and is only 1-2/6.00/16 in 18 games and a start this season? And Brent Lillibridge-- a 27 year old utility man that's only batting .175/0/10 this year? This is just disappointing for Red Sox management, they should have waited longer to see if Youkilis got hot to at least get something to help this team. But I'd be surprised if Zach Stewart and Brent Lillibridge ever truly impact the Boston Red Sox.

Weekly News

The Red Sox are getting hot-- coming off a 4-2 week, they raised it one with a 5-1 week involving a sweep of the Marlins and series win against the Braves. The Player of the Week, for his second time this season, is rookie Will Middlebrooks. Middlebrooks had a ridiculously good week by batting .625/5/10 and raising his very impressive season stats to .326/9/34 as he should be in the running for AL Rookie of the Year come November. For his tied team leading third time this season, the Pitcher of the Week is Jon Lester. Despite receiving the loss on Friday's 4-1 loss to Atlanta, Lester pitched well by allowing three runs over seven innings. The lefty is now 4-5/4.48/75 in a down year here in 2012. The Performance of the Week belongs to Cody Ross in today's 9-4 win over the Braves. Ross went 2-4 with a pair of home runs and 5 RBIs in leading the Red Sox to a win. Finally, the Game of the Week was Thursday's 6-5 win over the Marlins as the Red Sox put together a three run eighth to edge out the sweep over Miami. In the upcoming week, the Red Sox will play a three game series against the Blue Jays in Fenway before going on the road for four games against Seattle.

Ross Powers Sox To Series Win Over Braves (38-34)

Cook made a spot start and did a
decent job
The Red Sox had a shot of bad news before today's game as Clay Buchholz was scratched from his scheduled start and added to the DL with intestinal bleeding. This meant Aaron Cook would start today's game, but Cook managed a decent start to lead the Sox out of last. Neither team scored for a while, but the Red Sox finally got a rally going in the bottom of the fourth on back-to-back leadoff walks by Dustin Pedroia and Will Middlebrooks. Cody Ross came up and promptly crushed a pitch over the green monster for a three run homer to make it 3-0. Adrian Gonzalez came up next and delivered by going back-to-back with Ross and hitting a home run over the monster of his own. However, the Braves mounted a rally just as quickly as the Red Sox with back-to-back singles leading off the inning. Eric Hinske knocked a ball off the wall in center and it bounced around to result in a two-run triple. Hinske was almost picked off on the next play as Aaron Cook fielded a comebacker, but a bad throw allowed Hinske to score and make it 4-3.

Ross had two home runs and
five RBIs
Somehow the Red Sox escaped the inning only allowing three runs and got right back to business in the fifth. Kelly Shoppach led off the inning with a weak ground ball to the shortstop. Luckily, Andrelton Simmons made a rookie mistake by making a horrible throw to allow Shoppach to advance to second with no outs. Shoppach got to third on a bloop single by Daniel Nava and scored on a Will Middlebrooks sac fly to make it 5-3. The Red Sox were not done though, as Cody Ross came up and for the second time in two innings homered over the monster to give the Red Sox a 7-3 lead. Jason Heyward's opposite field home run in the sixth cut it to 7-4 but that would be the last Braves' bright spot of the game. Daniel Nava drove in Shoppach with an RBI double to left-center  in the sixth and a Kevin Youkilis RBI triple in the eighth made it 9-4. With that triple, Youkilis may have ended his Red Sox' career in style as trade rumors are buzzing. Anyhow, that and many other hits led the Red Sox to a 9-4 win and moved out of last.

Bright Spots:
Scott Atchison- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 K
Mark Melancon- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 K
Daniel Nava- 2-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI
Cody Ross- 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 5 RBI
Adrian Gonzalez- 2-3, 2 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI
Kevin Youkilis- 2-4, 1 3B, 1 RBI

Dull Spots:
Matt Albers- 1 IP, 2 H, 1 R
Mike Aviles- 0-4, 1 K, 2 LOB

Player of the Game:
Cody Ross- Ross powered the Red Sox to a win with two homers and five RBIs in a 2-4 game as his return has certainly aided the Sox-- he is now .277/11/37 this season.

Middlebrooks Powers Sox Again In Win Over Braves (37-34)

Morales struck out eight in six innings
The Red Sox are certainly winning at the time as they picked up another solid win last night to tie the series up at 1-1. They did this despite not even scoring first as the first two baserunners of the night reached second and third for the Braves. An RBI single would net the Braves a 1-0 lead but they did not score again in the inning. The Red Sox would score a few runs of their own in the bottom of the first when they put runners at the corners and two outs. They scored one as Adrian Gonzalez singled up the middle to tie the game. Another run would come in as Will Middlebrooks doubled off the left-center portion of the green monster to make it 2-1. With runners at first and second and one out in the second, the Red Sox would add on to their lead as Dustin Pedroia doubled into the gap in left-center to score two and make it 4-1.

Nava had a two-run single in
the seventh inning
They'd take one more run in the third on a leadoff homer over the monster by Will Middlebrooks. With a man on second and two outs, the Braves mounted a little rally which culminated in Michael Bourn grounding to left to score Jason Heyward from second and making it 5-2. After the first two men reached base in the fifth for the Red Sox, they made up for that run on an RBI double by Cody Ross. However, a Chipper Jones double in the sixth-- scoring Dan Uggla from first-- would make up for that and cut it to 6-3. The Braves got another rally going in the seventh as they put two runners in scoring position to bring the tying run to the plate. Unfortunately for them, Michael Bourn had an RBI groundout and that was all they got. Daniel Nava made up for that in the bottom half of the inning as he scored Cody Ross from third and Ryan Kalish from second with a two-out single to make it 8-4. The score stuck at that and the Red Sox won to remain tied in last with Toronto.

Bright Spots:
Vicente Padilla- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R
Alfredo Aceves- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R
Daniel Nava- 1-4, 1 R, 2 RBI
Dustin Pedroia- 3-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI
Adrian Gonzalez- 2-5, 1 R, 1 RBI
Will Middlebrooks- 3-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI
Cody Ross- 2-4, 1 R, 2 2B, 1 RBI
Mike Aviles- 2-4, 1 R

Dull Spots:
Scott Atchison- 0.1 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 1 R

Player of the Game:
Will Middlebrooks- Middlebrooks continues to swing a hot bat as the third baseman went 3-4, coming just a triple short of the cycle in a big game-- he is now .331/9/33 this season.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Red Sox' Streak Ends With Offense The Culprit (36-34)

Lester pitched well but was tagged
with the loss
This game was a true pitcher's duel with Jon Lester and Jair Jurrjens going up against one another. It played like a true pitcher's duel for the first several innings as neither team scored until the bottom of the fourth. In that inning, the Braves put two runners in scoring position with one out after a single by Freddie Freeman and a double by Jason Heyward. Freeman came in to score the game's first run on a groundout by Matt Diaz and Heyward came in on a double by rookie shortstop Andrelton Simmons to make it 2-0. After a scoreless fifth, the Braves got back into business in the sixth with a leadoff double by Jason Heyward. Heyward got to third on a flyout to right field by Matt Diaz and scored on a sacrifice fly by Andrelton Simmons to make it 3-0 in the sixth. It stayed like that for a few more frames and Jon Lester was taken out of the game after the seventh inning with a line of 7 IP, 10 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 5 K.

The offense was held in check all night
Mark Melancon would take his place and tossed a scoreless eighth inning to set the Red Sox up for some runs against Jair Jurrjens-- who had been phenomenal so far. A leadoff double by Will Middlebrooks could have set up some fire for the Red Sox. However, a Ryan Kalish fly out and a Mike Aviles groundout kept him at second base with two outs. Luckily, Daniel Nava delivered with an RBI double off the green monster to cut it to a 3-1 deficit. The Braves would make up for that run in the top of the ninth, though, as Mark Melancon ran into a bit of trouble. The Braves put runners at the corners with two outs when Freddie Freeman came up and singled to left to make it 4-1. Normally, that wouldn't be a huge margin but with Braves' closer Craig Kimbrel-- it was, and a 1-2-3 ninth would net the Red Sox a loss.

Bright Spots:
Jon Lester- 7 IP, 10 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 5 K, L (4-5)
Daniel Nava- 1-3, 1 2B, 1 RBI
Will Middlebrooks- 1-2, 1 R, 1 2B

Dull Spots:
Dustin Pedroia- 0-4, 2 LOB
David Ortiz- 0-4, 1 LOB
Cody Ross- 0-4, 1 K
Jarrod Saltalamacchia- 0-3, 2 K
Ryan Kalish- 0-3, 1 K, 2 LOB
Mike Aviles- 0-3, 2 LOB

Player of the Game:
Jon Lester- Although Lester allowed ten hits and was tagged with the loss, he still did better than any other Red Sox' and with a better offense may have won-- he is now 4-5/4.48/75.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Series Preview #23: Braves (37-32) @ Red Sox (36-33)

Fresh off a three game sweep of the Miami Marlins which put the Red Sox three games above .500 and into fourth place, the Red Sox will stay at Fenway Park to face the Atlanta Braves. In the series opener tonight, we'll get to see Jon Lester (right)(4-4/4.53/70), coming off one of his better starts this season, face off against Jair Jurrjens (0-2/9.37/8), who was recently recalled from the minors after a dreadful start to the year. Based on their recent trends plus the Red Sox' offense, I predict the Red Sox to win tonight. Saturday's game will feature Franklin Morales (0-1/3.14/29) making his second start of the season against top prospect Randall Delgado (4-7/4.12/60). This is a game that will probably be decided by the offense and seeing as the Red Sox' offense is superior and the Red Sox are at home, I'll predict a very close win. The series finale will show Clay Buchholz (8-2/5.53/58) against another top prospect in Mike Minor (3-5/6.04/66). Buchholz wasn't great in his last start but he has been turning things around so I predict a win and a sweep here. Bold Prediction: Red Sox sweep series 3-0. 

Red Sox Sweep Marlins Behind Middlebrooks (36-33)

Matsuzaka did not have a
particularly good start
The Red Sox won this game against all odds: the pitching matchup, the score in the eighth inning, etc.; but they did manage to pull off a key sweep of the Marlins. The Marlins started off fast when they put two runners in scoring position with two outs in the first. Greg Dobbs delivered with a two-run single on a liner into right. Later in the inning, Omar Infante drove in Dobbs with an RBI single of his own to put the Marlins up 3-0 early. The Red Sox put together their first rally of the night when Cody Ross and Jarrod Saltalamacchia were each hit by a pitch to start the inning. Will Middlebrooks would deliver with an RBI single on a line drive into right to score Ross and cut the Marlins' lead to 3-1. Ryan Kalish grounded into a forceout to put runners at the corners with still only one out. A Mike Aviles sacrifice fly would score Saltalamacchia from third to come within a run of the tie. After putting runners at the corners with two outs, they reached the tie when Will Middlebrooks on a bloop single to right to make it 3-3.

Middlebrooks had a fantastic game
The tie would quickly be broken in the sixth, though, as Giancarlo Stanton hit a line drive that just barely got over the monster to make it 4-3 Marlins. After a two-out single by Greg Dobbs later in the inning, it was Infante again with a double to center to score Dobbs all the way from first and make it 5-3. The Red Sox would make a plea at tying the game in the eighth inning when Jarrod Saltalamacchia led off the inning with a double off Marlins' reliver Edward Mujica. As it had been all game long, it would be Will Middlebrooks that had the decisive blow though. Middlebrooks would quickly deliver with a clutch game-tying home run on a high fly ball to dead center to make it 5-5. A Ryan Kalish single would become a triple as he went first to third on a ball in the infield. And it was a good thing that he did as Daniel Nava hit a weak line drive to center for an RBI single to make it 6-5. That would be the key hit as the Red Sox held on to win 6-5.

Bright Spots:
Scott Atchison- 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, W (2-0)
Alfredo Aceves- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, SV (18)
Daniel Nava- 2-4, 1 RBI
Cody Ross- 1-3, 1 R
Jarrod Saltalamacchia- 1-3, 2 R, 1 2B
Will Middlebrooks- 3-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 4 RBI
Ryan Kalish- 1-3, 1 R

Dull Spots:
Daisuke Matsuzaka- 5.1 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 4 K
Andrew Miller- 0.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R
Dustin Pedroia- 0-5, 4 LOB

Player of the Game:
Will Middlebrooks- Middlebrooks powered the Red Sox to a win last night with a 3-4 night plus two RBI singles and a game-tying homer in the eighth; he is now .316/8/31 this season.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Red Sox Vault Into Fourth After Rout Of Marlins (35-33)

Doubront didn't have his best
stuff but he got the win
Last night was a good one as they absolutely pounded the Marlins and as a result of that, moved out of last place. After two singles to lead off the game, the Marlins actually scored first on a double play ball hit by Giancarlo Stanton. With runners at the corners and one out in the second, they pushed home another run on a groundout by Gaby Sanchez-- those would be their only bright spots in this game though. After a pair of two-out singles in the bottom of the second, Mike Aviles really made the rally pay off with a three-run homer over the monster in left-center. The Red Sox got a few more runs in the third after loading the bases with one out for Cody Ross. Ross would clear the bases with a double to left that took a huge bounce away from Marlins' left fielder Logan Morrison to give the Red Sox a 6-2 lead. The Marlins would cut the lead a little when Logan Morrison redeemed himself with a leadoff homer off the Pesky Pole and again on an RBI single by Gaby Sanchez but it was still 6-4 Red Sox.

Mike Aviles and Jarrod
Saltalamacchia each homered
And it was about to become much more than that as they Red Sox put runners at the corners with one out. Ryan Kalish scored one with an infield single but David Ortiz had the big blow as he crushed a high home run to deep right to make it 11-4. Two batters later, Jarrod Saltalamacchia delivered with a blast of his own as he homered to dead center to make it 12-4. The Red Sox got right back to business in the fifth as they loaded the bases on two walks and a single for David Ortiz. The damage would not be quite as great this time as the only run of the inning came on a wild pitch by Marlins' reliever Chris Hatcher. In the seventh, the Marlins had a little bright spot as John Buck hit a no-doubt shot to left field, staying just fair to make it 13-5. However, the Red Sox made up for the Buck home run with a two-out walk and then a two-out homer for Will Mddlebrooks to left field to make it 15-5. That would be the final score as the Red Sox absolutely pounded the Marlins and are now out of last and only six games out of first!

Bright Spots:
Mark Melancon- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 K
Daniel Nava- 4-5, 2 R
Ryan Kalish- 2-5, 2 R, 1 RBI
David Ortiz- 1-4, 2 R, 1 HR, 4 RBI
Cody Ross- 1-4, 1 2B, 3 RBI
Jarrod Saltalamacchia- 2-4, 3 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI
Kevin Youkilis- 2-3, 1 R, 1 2B
Will Middlebrooks- 1-1, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI
Mike Aviles- 2-5, 2 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI

Dull Spots:
None!

Player of the Game:
Mike Aviles- Aviles had a heck of a game, leading the Red Sox' offense by going 3-5 with a three-run homer and scoring twice to become .268/9/40.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Red Sox Nail Three Homers On Fishing Trip (34-33)

Buchholz allowed five runs in
six innings, but earned the win
Once again, the Red Sox have surpassed the .500 mark after a win against the Marlins and are now 34-33 this season. Things didn't start off too great for the Red Sox, as Clay Buchholz was not on and surrendered a two-run homer to Logan Morrison in the first inning. Luckily, the Red Sox offense would bail him out as David Ortiz hit a two-run homer of his own on a line to right field to even the score at 2-2. The Red Sox continued to pile up the two-run homers in the second inning as Kelly Shoppach nailed one over the monster, also scoring Will Middlebrooks, to give the Red Sox a 4-2 lead. However, the Marlins got a little rally going in the third after Hanley Ramirez walked and Giancarlo Stanton was hit by a pitch with two outs. Once again, it was Logan Morrison tearing up the Red Sox' offense as he doubled to left to score Ramirez and cut the Red Sox lead to one run. The Red Sox got that run back in the fourth, though, as Cody Ross (in his first game back) crushed a ball to left for a solo home run to make it 5-3.

Ortiz was 2-4 with a two-
run homer
The Marlins would get another rally going that was startlingly familiar to their last one as Hanley Ramirez and Giancarlo Stanton each singled with two outs. Again, it was Logan Morrison providing all of the offense as he doubled off the deep part of the monster in left-center to score both of them and tie the game. In the bottom of the fifth, the Red Sox continued to scrounge for runs as Mike Aviles doubled to lead off the inning. Dustin Pedroia bunted him to third and Adrian Gonzalez drove him in with a sacrifice fly to make it 6-5. Back-to-back doubles leading off the sixth by Kevin Youkilis and Will Middlebrooks netted the Red Sox another run to make it 7-5 in the sixth inning. That would be Clay Buchholz's last inning and it was not his best start as he went 6 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 1 BB, 3 K but still left with a lead. The Red Sox' bullpen saved the lead as Vicente Padilla picked up his 16th hold (T-3rd in baseball) and Alfredo Aceves picked up his 17th save (4th in the AL) in a 7-5 win.

Bright Spots:
Vicente Padilla- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R
Alfredo Aceves- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 K, SV (17)
David Ortiz- 2-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI
Will Middlebrooks- 2-3, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI
Cody Ross- 1-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI
Kelly Shoppach- 1-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI

Dull Spots:
Clay Buchholz- 6 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 1 BB, 3 K, W (8-2)

Player of the Game:
David Ortiz- Papi led the offense again as he went 2-4 with a two-run home run to help the Red Sox on their way to a win, he is now .314/17/45.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Series Preview #22: Marlins (33-33) @ Red Sox (33-33)

A week ago today, the Red Sox were in the midst of a series with the Miami Marlins. Today, the Red Sox are about to begin a series against the Marlins-- the only difference being that now it's at Fenway. There's no silver lining that the Marlins are struggling as they've lost eight of their last ten and sit at .500-- no higher than the Red Sox. In tonight's series opener, it'll be a pitching matchup we saw last week with Clay Buchholz (7-2/5.38/55) going against Mark Buehrle (5-7/3.41/43). Last week, I predicted a loss but the way Buchholz is pitching right now, nothing can stop him and I think the Red Sox will win a close one. The second game of this series is another previous matchup with Felix Doubront (7-3/4.17/81) going against Ricky Nolasco (6-5/4.37/49). I predicted a win in this one last week, I was right, so I see no reason to change that. The final game of this series is one that has not yet been seen with Daisuke Matsuzaka (0-2/5.73/11) against Carlos Zambrano (4-5/3.92/60). Facing Dice-K, Zambrano probably won't have to be hurling any water coolers the way the Red Sox are hitting as I'd predict a loss. Bold Prediction: Red Sox win series 2-1. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Weekly News

The Red Sox were far from dominant this week-- but they managed to quietly pull off a very solid 4-2 week. They won series against the Marlins and Cubs, both after dropping the first game of the series. For his team-leading fifth time this year, the Player of the Week is David Ortiz-- who batted .353/2/5 while continuing his fantastic season of .311/16/43. Clay Buchholz tied the team lead with three awards when he won the Pitcher of the Week after a performance on Tuesday where he allowed a run and struck out nine in a 2-1 win over Miami. Buchholz has recovered from his brutal start and is now 7-2/5.38/55 this season. The Performance of the Week belongs to David Ortiz after last night's game when he went 2-4 with 2 runs, a solo home run, and 2 RBIs. The Game of the Week was also last night as, while it was a bit sloppy, it was exciting as they won 7-4. After an off day today, the Red Sox will head to Fenway to play three game series against Miami and Atlanta next week.

Morales's Strong Spot Start Leads Sox Over Cubbies (33-33)

Morales struggled in the
first inning
I've said it many times before, but the Red Sox really needed to win this series. And they did, so they now stand at 33-33-- still in last place, but just by a game. Things started off really well for the Red Sox as Scott Podsednik led off the game with a bloop single to center. The scuffling Dustin Pedroia stepped to the plate and knocked a hanging change into the left-center gap to score Podsednik all the way from first to take an early 1-0 lead. Pedroia got to third on a Kevin Youkilis fly out and came home when David Ortiz lined a ball into right field to help the Sox take a 2-0 lead. Unfortunately, the Cubs got off to almost equally as good a start when Reed Johnson doubled to left. Starlin Castro hit a little blooper into the gap which evaded right fielder Darnell McDonald's grasp and kept rolling-- ending up as an RBI triple for Castro. New starter Franklin Morales would work out of the mess with minimal damage, though, as he got a strikeout and groundout to end the inning.

After that, he was very
good though
With Darwin Barney on first base in the third inning, it would be Starlin Castro again as he hit a high pop up to the outfield grass. There was a miscommunication between Dustin Pedroia and Darnell McDonald and it fell for a double. David Ortiz led off the fourth inning with a home run, though, to give the Sox a 3-2 lead. With runners at the corners for Chicago in the sixth, Jeff Baker hit a little dribbler to Matt Albers. Albers snagged it and tried to turn two but he made a bad throw and they didn't get the out and the run scored to tie the game. However, the Red Sox made it up in the seventh-- putting two runners in scoring position to start the inning. Newly recalled Ryan Kalish gave them the lead with a bloop single to center that scored one. Will Middlebrooks made it 5-3 with a sacrifice fly to center and they got one more run on a suicide squeeze with Daniel Nava at the plate. The Red Sox scored one more in the eighth on an RBI groundout by Jarrod Saltalamacchia. The Cubs also got an extra run, on a David DeJesus sac fly, but the game was over after the seventh as the Red Sox won 7-4.
Bright Spots:
Franklin Morales- 5 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 9 K
Scott Atchison- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R
Scott Podsednik- 1-3, 1 R
Daniel Nava- 1-1, 1 RBI
Dustin Pedroia- 2-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI
David Ortiz- 2-4, 2 R, 1 BB, 1 HR, 2 RBI
Jarrod Saltalamacchia- 1-2, 1 R, 1 RBI
Ryan Kalish- 1-4, 1 R, 1 RBI

Dull Spots:
Alfredo Aceves- 1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 K
Mike Aviles- 0-4, 1 BB, 1 K, 5 LOB
Kelly Shoppach- 0-2, 2 K

Player of the Game:
David Ortiz- As usual, Ortiz had a great game for the Red Sox-- hitting a home run and driving in two in a 2-4 game as he became a fantastic .311/16/43.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Morales Set To Start Today After Beckett's DL Trip

A couple of days ago, Josh Beckett was scratched from today's start with shoulder inflammation. Yesterday he was moved to the 15-day DL, leaving an apparent hole in the Red Sox' pitching rotation. Filling it for tonight's game against the Cubs will be Franklin Morales. Morales has been one of the better relievers for the Red Sox this year-- he currently stands at 0-2/3.04/20 in 22 games and 23.2 innings out of the bullpen. He was once a starter in Colorado, as he was a highly rated prospect in their system and actually started Game 3 of the 2007 World Series against the Red Sox. Morales made 8 starts in 2007 and 5 in 2008 but showed some serious control issues there. In 2009, the Rockies finally turned Morales into a reliever where he became a fairly successful lefty reliever. However, he'll be going back to his roots tonight when he looks to subdue Chicago. It looks unlikely that he'd be able to go much more than 5 innings, though, as he hasn't been stretched out as a starter this season. Still, it'll be an interesting sight and perhaps Morales could return to his former role.

Battery Powers Sox In Win Over Cubs (32-33)

Lester pitched very well
through six innings
The Red Sox really needed a win last night to take advantage of the worst team in the league and to climb within a game of the .500 mark. A two out walk by David Ortiz in the first inning could have started a rally. Jarrod Saltalamacchia carried on with that by doubling off the wall in right-center. As Ortiz rounded third and headed for home, the Cubs nabbed him at the plate to end the inning. Ortiz would redeem himself in the fourth inning, however, as he led off the inning with a double. Saltalamacchia kept his good game going by crushing a home run to dead right field to score Ortiz and himself and make it 2-0. The Red Sox couldn't make anything else out of the inning, though, as the next three batters all struck out. A pair of one out walks in the sixth put the Red Sox in a position to score and extend the lead. Will Middlebrooks would do just that when he singled up the middle to score Ortiz from second. Future opportunities to score would be squandered, though, when Jarrod Saltalamacchia was thrown out at third.

Saltalamacchia had a home
run and a double
The Red Sox offense kept piling it on in the seventh inning, when Mike Aviles led the inning off with  a double. After a Jon Lester strikeout, Scott Podsednik drove him in with a single up the middle to make it 4-0. That strikeout may have affected Lester in some way as he became startlingly inefficient in the seventh. Jeff Baker doubled to lead off the inning and was moved to third base on a groundout by Tony Campana. Wellington Castillo walked to put two runners on and bring the tying run to the on deck circle. They would both come in to score, plus one more, when Luis Valbuena of all people hit a high fly ball to left-center to cut it to 4-3. Lester struck out David DeJesus to finish his night and he was taken out with a line of 6.2 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 8 K. Scott Atchison would finish off that inning, Vicente Padilla came in for the eighth, then Alfredo Aceves came in for the ninth and earned his 16th save of the season.


Bright Spots:
Jon Lester- 6.2 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 8 K, W (4-4)
Vicente Padilla- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 K
Alfredo Aceves- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 K, SV (16)
Scott Podsednik- 2-4, 1 RBI
David Ortiz- 1-2, 2 R, 1 2B, 2 BB
Jarrod Saltalamacchia- 2-3, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI
Will Middlebrooks- 1-4, 1 RBI
Mike Aviles- 2-4, 1 R, 1 2B

Dull Spots:
Dustin Pedroia- 0-5, 3 LOB
Ryan Sweeney- 0-4, 2 K, 3 LOB

Player of the Game:
Jarrod Saltalamacchia- Saltalamacchia played a great game both at and behind the plate, going 2-3 with a homer and a double and leading a great performance by Jon Lester-- he is now .254/12/32.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Red Sox Strand 21 In Tough Loss To Cubs (31-33)

Matsuzaka struggled early
Things seemed to be going well for the Red Sox after winning two of three against the Marlins and heading to Chicago to face the worst team in baseball. However, the pitching match up of Daisuke Matsuzaka and Ryan Dempster favored the Cubs, and it was indeed the pitching that decided this game. The Red Sox put two on to start the game but stranded them, and it sure cost them throughout the game. Daisuke Matsuzaka loaded the bases with two outs on three walks to Tony Campana, Alfonso Soriano, and Bryan LaHair. It wouldn't be a walk that hurt him the most, however-- it would be a first pitch bloop single to left field by Cubs catcher Steve Clevenger. The Cubs got right back to it in the second with a one-out triple by Ryan Dempster of all people. He shot a bloop into right that evaded a diving Adrian Gonzalez to put the pitcher on third base. Dempster would come in to score on a hard line drive into right by David DeJesus to give them a 3-0 lead.

He settled down to go six
innings though
Matsuzaka settled down after those early struggles and the Red Sox blew many chances at scoring to make the game close. For example, in the fifth inning, Mike Aviles singled to lead off the inning. He stole second but did not advance further as Daisuke Matsuzaka struck out on a foul bunt. Scott Podsednik then grounded a ball back to Dempster on the mound, Aviles was caught too far off the base and just like that, the scoring chance was over. In the seventh inning the Red Sox put Nick Punto on first with two outs. He stole second and Scott Podsednik advanced him to third on an infield single. Podsednik would steal second to put two in scoring position for the Red Sox. Dustin Pedroia hit a hard line drive to right-- but unfortunately it was right to David DeJesus and the inning was over. Matsuzaka was taken out of the game after that inning and his final line was a decent 6 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 3 K. The most alarming case of stranding baserunners would come in the ninth when the Red Sox stranded the bases loaded with Dustin Pedroia at the plate to end the game.
Bright Spots:
Scott Atchison- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 K
Mark Melancon- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K
Scott Podsednik- 2-4, 1 BB, 2 SB

Dull Spots:
Dustin Pedroia- 0-4, 1 BB, 6 LOB
Adrian Gonzalez- 0-4, 2 K, 2 LOB
Kevin Youkilis- 0-4, 4 LOB
Jarrod Saltalamacchia- 0-4, 2 LOB

Player of the Game:
Scott Podsednik- Podsednik did a great job leading off for the Red Sox, reaching base three times and stealing two bases-- he is now .382/1/6.

Series Preview #21: Red Sox (31-32) @ Cubs (21-42)

With the Red Sox limping right now, despite just winning a series against Miami, they'll be facing the perfect team in the league worst Cubs-- who stand at a miserable 21-42. The first game of the series today will feature Daisuke Matsuzaka (0-1/7.20/8) and Ryan Dempster (2-3/2.31/63). Dempster has been a pleasant surprise for the Cubs this year (and thus, won't be a Cub for long) so I think he may edge out the inconsistent Dice-K in this start. In the next game of the series, Jon Lester (3-4/4.57/62) will square off against another surprise for the Cubs in Jeff Samardzija (5-4/3.96/72)-- the reliever turned starter. Lester hasn't exactly pitched up to par but in a close matchup like this, it should be up to the bats and the Red Sox certainly have the advantage there. The final game of this series will show Josh Beckett (4-7/4.14/56) going head to head with offseason signee Paul Maholm (4-5/4.91/43). Beckett's stats don't look terribly impressive but he's pitched well his last few times out and I'd predict a win. Bold Prediction: Red Sox win series 2-1. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Red Sox Win Series Behind Doubront, Six Run Eighth (31-32)

Doubront held a no-hitter
into the sixth
This was a series (and game) that the Red Sox really needed to win-- as the Blue Jays had lost earlier in the day, and if the Red Sox won, they would tie them for fourth. It was fairly low scoring to start off the game and neither team scored through the first couple of innings. Mike Aviles would lead off the third in a good way, though, singling to center and advancing to second when center fielder Justin Ruggiano bobbled to ball. The Red Sox would manufacture a run as Felix Doubront bunted him to third and Scott Podsednik drove him in with a groundout to second base. Another run came in the fourth when David Ortiz went to the opposite field for a solo home run-- his 15th of the year. The Red Sox didn't score again until the sixth-- and the words "no hitter" were being mentioned as Felix Doubront still hadn't allowed a hit. The Red Sox would pile up a few insurance runs anyway as Scott Podsednik singled and got to second on a single by Dustin Pedroia. Adrian Gonzalez singled through the hole into right and David Ortiz knocked a sacrifice fly to make it 4-0.

Ortiz had his 15th home run
and had 3 RBIs
With two outs in the bottom of the sixth-- boom! Jose Reyes ended Doubront's no hitter in a big way, crushing a home run to left to cut it to 4-1. The Marlins kept it going in the seventh, leading things off with a single and a double to put two in scoring position and no outs. After an Omar Infante pop up, Justin Ruggiano grounded to Mike Aviles. Hanley Ramirez easily scored from third but Giancarlo Stanton got greedy and was out trying for third base. Still, with only a 4-2 lead, the Red Sox needed some insurance, and in the eighth-- they got just that. Nick Punto doubled and Scott Podsednik singled to lead off the inning and put runners at the corners. Three consecutive singles by Dustin Pedroia, Adrian Gonzalez, and David Ortiz made it 7-2. Will Middlebrooks was hit to load the bases-- and Jarrod Saltalamacchia knocked a sacrifice fly to make it 8-2. A Nick Punto single later in the inning would score two more and make it 10-2. The Red Sox bullpen held that lead (thankfully) and the Red Sox would win the game and series.

Bright Spots:
Felix Doubront- 7 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 9 K, W (7-3)
Matt Albers- 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R
Scott Podsednik- 2-5, 2 R, 1 RBI
Dustin Pedroia- 2-5, 2 R, 1 RBI
Adrian Gonzalez- 3-5, 1 R, 2 RBI
David Ortiz- 2-2, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 HR, 3 RBI
Mike Aviles- 2-4, 1 R
Nick Punto- 2-2, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI

Dull Spots:
Will Middlebrooks- 0-4, 2 K, 4 LOB
Ryan Sweeney- 0-4, 3 LOB

Player of the Game:
Felix Doubront- Even when this game was close, Doubront kept the Sox in it-- holding a no-hitter until the sixth inning and going seven strong-- he is now 7-3/4.17/81.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Red Sox Edge Marlins In Pitching Duel (30-32)

Buchholz was brilliant
last night
When it comes to the Boston Red Sox, we haven't seen a whole lot of true pitching duels in recent years. Last night, though, with Clay Buchholz facing Mark Buehrle-- not exactly a match up of aces-- we saw a big one. Neither team scored until the seventh inning (or after) and the Red Sox only managed a hit before the seventh. Buchholz escaped several jams-- even in the first inning, when Jose Reyes tripled to lead off the game, but Buchholz struck out the side to strand him. He got into another jam in the third inning, when a two out rally had put runners at first and second. Hanley Ramirez hit a slow grounder up the middle and beat it out for an infield single, but Jose Reyes had rounded third and was easily thrown out at the plate to end the inning. Buchholz was dominant after that, and the Red Sox finally got going in the seventh inning. With one out, Will Middlebrooks hit a slow line drive into right field that just avoided being caught by Giancarlo Stanton. Adrian Gonzalez flew out, so it was all up to Kelly Shoppach to drive him in.

He allowed a run in seven
innings for a win
Shoppach would drive a pitch directly into the gap. Middlebrooks easily came all the way around first and Shoppach had an RBI double to make it 1-0. However, the Red Sox weren't done yet as Mike Aviles stepped up to the plate and promptly delivered a bloop single to center to score Shoppach and make it 2-0. Darnell McDonald then singled on another blooper to center to put runners at the corners with two outs for Clay Buchholz. The Red Sox did not pinch-hit for Buchholz, and he almost delivered as it took a fantastic diving catch by center fielder Chris Coghlan to prevent an RBI single. The Marlins would get one of those runs back almost immediately as Logan Morrison crushed a line drive home run to deep right to cut the lead to 2-1. Clay Buchholz got out of the inning with minimal damage and left the game after with a 7 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 9 K line. Vicente Padilla and Alfredo Aceves-- picking up his 15th save-- each threw a scoreless inning to help the Red Sox win for the first time in a while.

Bright Spots:
Clay Buchholz- 7 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 9 K, W (7-2)
Alfredo Aceves- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 K, SV (15)
Kelly Shoppach- 2-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI
Mike Aviles- 1-4, 1 RBI
Darnell McDonald- 2-4

Dull Spots:
Scott Podsednik- 0-4, 1 K, 1 LOB
Dustin Pedroia- 0-4, 1 K, 1 LOB
Kevin Youkilis- 0-3

Player of the Game:
Clay Buchholz- For his last seven times up, Buchholz had been fantastic and he was again tonight, allowing a run in seven strong innings-- he is now 7-2/5.38/55.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Red Sox Can't Overcome Early Deficit By Marlins (29-32)

Beckett was making his
first start against Miami
The Red Sox and Marlins were each struggling entering into yesterday's ballgame but very early it was confirmed which team would end their struggles. After the Red Sox stranded two runners in a frustrating first inning, the Marlins came right back and led off the bottom half with a triple by Jose Reyes. Light-hitting Donavan Solano knew his role and simply lifted a fly ball into right-center to score Reyes and give the Marlins an early 1-0. However, the Marlins were not done as Giancarlo Stanton knocked a one out bloop single into center field. With Stanton on first, Logan Morrison almost knocked one out of the park-- but it clanged high off the wall in right field for a double that would have put two in scoring position. Unfortunately, Adrian Gonzalez-- obviously not a natural right fielder-- bobbled the ball, allowing Stanton to come all the way around from first to score the Marlins' second run. He probably would've scored anyway, though, as Gaby Sanchez blooped a ball into right to score Morrison from second and give the Marlins an early 3-0 lead.

He improved as he went
along 
The Marlins put it right back together in the second inning-- starting things off with a single by John Buck. In the National League style, pitcher Josh Johnson bunted him over to second base with one out. Jose Reyes then grounded out to David Ortiz at first base to push Buck over to third base. It was Donovan Solano again with the clutch RBI-- singling up the middle to score Buck and make it 4-0. It stayed like that for a long time until the sixth inning, when a Scott Podsednik single and Dustin Pedroia double put the Sox in business with one out. Adrian Gonzalez hit a long fly ball to deep left center, but it would be caught on the run by Logan Morrison-- allowing Podsednik to score, but that was all. After a few more scoreless innings, Josh Beckett was taken out of the game with a line of 7 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 5 K. For the first time in over two months, Mark Melancon-- recently called up from AAA-- came in and threw a scoreless inning. However, the offensive woes continued and the game would finish with a score of 4-1.

Bright Spots:
Mark Melancon- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R
Scott Podsednik- 3-4, 1 R, 1 SB
Dustin Pedroia- 1-3, 1 2B, 1 BB

Dull Spots:
David Ortiz- 0-4, 1 K, 4 LOB
Jarrod Saltalamacchia- 0-4, 1 K, 3 LOB
Kevin Youkilis- 0-4, 1 K, 1 LOB
Mike Aviles- 0-3, 1 K

Player of the Game:
Scott Podsednik- As the leadoff hitter, Podsednik certainly did his job-- reaching base three times and stealing a base-- he is now .405/1/5 this season.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Series Preview #20: Red Sox (29-31) @ Marlins (31-29)

On the heels of a three game sweep at the hands of the Washington Nationals-- the Red Sox will head on the road to test out brand new Marlins Park in Miami. In the first game of the series tonight will be one of the Red Sox better pitchers this year in Josh Beckett (right) (4-6/4.04/51) against Marlins ace Josh Johnson (3-4/4.56/59) who is pitching better of late. This should be a close game that I think the Red Sox will edge out. Game two of the series will feature Clay Buchholz (6-2/5.77/46) trying to continue to right the ship against Mark Buehrle (5-6/3.49/39). This should be another close game that could go either way but I'll predict a loss just because the Marlins are at home. The Red Sox will go for (hopefully) a series win in Wednesday night's game with impressive rookie Felix Doubront (6-3/4.34/72) going head to head with Ricky Nolasco (6-4/4.36/45). This should be a close game but I think the Red Sox could edge it out. This series should be very close in every game and it could just as easily go for a sweep for either team. Bold Prediction: Red Sox win series 2-1. 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Weekly News

Things appeared to be going strong for the Red Sox entering this week-- they were coming off a 5-2 week that saw them win two series. However, they fell to 1-5 this week, losing a series to the Orioles and being swept by the Nationals. For his first time of the year, the Player of the Week is Jarrod Saltalamacchia-- who batted .278/1/4 this week and is now .266/11/29 on the season. For his second time this year-- and second consecutive as well-- the Pitcher of the Week is Clay Buchholz. Buchholz impressed everybody with a complete game shutout against the Orioles on Thursday night, and is now 6-2/5.77/46 this season. The Performance of the Week goes to Jarrod Saltalamacchia on Monday-- who went 3-4 with a double and a clutch two-run homer as a part of the extra inning 8-6 loss. Seeing as it was the only win of the week, the Game of the Week goes to the 7-0 win on Thursday in which Buchholz threw a shutout. In the next week, the Red Sox will play a pair of series away from home-- a three game set in Miami and a three game set in Chicago.

Lack Of Clutch Performance Leads To Sweep By Nats (29-31)

Other than a shaky seventh, Lester
was very good
When I predicted that the Nationals would sweep this series, I was dutifully hoping I was wrong-- however, I was dead on as the Red Sox dropped the series finale today to complete a three game sweep for Washington. The Nationals got going very early as Danny Espinosa doubled off the wall in center on the very first play of the game. He would come around to score on a groundout by Ryan Zimmerman. The Red Sox answered for that in the third inning when they put runners at the corners with one out. Dustin Pedroia nearly grounded into a double play, but he beat out the back end to tie the game at 1-1. The Sox kept rolling in the fourth, taking the lead when David Ortiz put a charge into a high fastball for a solo home run to right field.

Ortiz went 3-4 and came just a
triple short of the cycle
That score held all the way until the seventh inning, when Jon Lester allowed the Nationals to put two runners in scoring position with no outs. A strikeout and a pop out put their scoring chances in jeopardy, but a clutch double by Danny Espinosa scored both to give them a 3-2 lead. The Red Sox put two runners in scoring position with just an out in the bottom of the seventh and tied it back up on an RBI groundout by Scott Podsednik. This put things at 3-3 for the Red Sox bullpen-- Scott Atchison threw a scoreless eighth, but Alfredo Aceves got into some trouble in the ninth. Bryce Harper walked with one out and came all the way around to score on a double to right by Roger Bernadina. The Red Sox couldn't come back and fell 4-3.

Bright Spots:
Jon Lester- 7 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 9 K
Scott Atchison- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 K
Scott Podsednik- 2-5, 1 2B, 1 RBI
Dustin Pedroia- 1-4, 1 BB, 1 RBI
David Ortiz- 3-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 RBI

Dull Spots:
Alfredo Aceves- 1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K, L (0-4)
Adrian Gonzalez- 0-4, 4 LOB
Jarrod Saltalamacchia- 0-4, 4 K, 2 LOB
Darnell McDonald- 0-2, 1 K, 1 LOB

Player of the Game:
David Ortiz- The offense wasn't great today, but it certainly wasn't Ortiz's fault as he came a triple short of the cycle in a 3-4 day-- he is now .308/14/38 this year.

Dice-K's Return Spoiled By Lack Of Offense (29-30)

Matsuzaka made his first
start this year
After a stint both at and above .500, the Red Sox have fallen back below at just 29-30-- and Daisuke Matsuzaka, making his first start back from Tommy John Surgery, couldn't do anything about it. The Nationals got on the board first when Adam LaRoche took advantage of a first pitch fastball, leading off the second inning, that was down the middle,  and crushed it into the bullpens for a solo home run. However, the Nationals weren't nearly done as a Bryce Harper walk and Ryan Zimmerman single leading off the fourth put runners at the corners with no outs. Dice-K struck out Adam LaRoche after a long at bat, setting up the inning ending double play. Michael Morse would erase all thoughts of a scoreless inning, however, by lining a ball into right that fortunately would be a ground rule double and only score one. The Nationals upped it to a four run lead with the next batter as Ian Desmond singled sharply into right to put the Nationals up 4-0 in just the fourth inning. I'm sure many Red Sox fans and player alike were thinking that with the way Gio Gonzalez was pitching, that may be enough.

He only really had one
bad inning in the loss
Dice-K was taken out of the game after a scoreless fifth, and his final line was an unimpressive 5 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 8 K. However, he had good stuff with all his pitches moving to a degree and if he had stayed away from the one bad inning, he would've been fine. Franklin Morales came into the game and pitched a couple scoreless innings until the Red Sox got on the board in the seventh inning. That was when the Red Sox loaded the bases with one out for pinch hitter Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Salty was first pitch swinging and crushed the ball in the air to left for what could've been a home run in many ballparks. However, this time the green monster took a homer away-- luckily, the Red Sox still scored two and the Red Sox still had runners at the corners down by only two. However, Daniel Nava struck out looking on a generous called strike and Dustin Pedroia popped out to end the inning with a 4-2 deficit. Franklin Morales continued to dominate out of the 'pen, throwing three perfect innings with three strikeouts. It would be all in vain, however, as the Red Sox lost 4-2.

Bright Spots:
Franklin Morales- 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 3 K
Alfredo Aceves- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 K
Jarrod Saltalamacchia- 1-2, 2 RBI

Dull Spots:
Daniel Nava- 0-4, 1 K, 2 LOB
Adrian Gonzalez- 0-4, 1 K, 1 LOB
Kevin Youkilis- 0-4, 1 LOB
Kelly Shoppach- 0-2, 2 K, 2 LOB

Player of the Game:
Franklin Morales- Even though it's an odd decision to give the Player of the Game to a reliever, Morales deserved it with three shutdown innings-- he is now 0-1/3.04/20.