Holt Grand Slam, Impressive Bullpen Leads Sox to Comeback Win

Bases loaded, 1 out.  Toronto led 7-2.  Then suddenly, Holt cracked it into right, and it was gone!!!!

The Red Sox came back to haunt the Blue Jays after trailing by five at the end of the fourth.  Their bullpen held the Jays to no scoring from innings 5-9, and their lineup produced 6 runs in the span of two innings.  Brock Holt had a monstrous game, going 2-3 with 5 RBI, 1 run, a double and a grand slam.  Xander Bogaerts added a 3 hit, 3 run game.

The Sox started off sloppy in the first inning with a 1-2-3 and a run given up by Joe Kelly.  Kevin Pillar hit a lead off triple and with first and third, Edwin Encarnacion hit the sac fly that scored the run.  By the end of the inning, despite two strikeouts, Kelly had given up a triple, two walks and a run off a sac fly.  The Red Sox turned things around in the next couple innings.  Hanley Ramirez got a single but was caught running to second.  Travis Shaw and Brock Holt made up for it with back to back doubles that scored a run for the Sox.  Starting Brock Holt and Travis Shaw rather than Panda and Castillo was worth it.  It didn’t end for them there.  Holt and Shaw had become a crucial part of the lineup.  A Xander Bogaerts single along with an impressive RBI double by Big Papi scored the 2nd run for the Sox in the 3rd.

Joe Kelly also had more control in the 2nd and 3rd, he had two straight innings with only 1 hit or walk, but no 1-2-3 innings.  In the 4th, Kelly just lost it.  With Kevin Pillar up, he had given up four straight singles and a 2nd run.  That’s when things just got worse.  He hit Pillar in the head, scoring another run!  Then Josh Donaldson, reigning AL MVP, came up to the plate.  He crushed one into right and there went a grand slam.  It was now 7-2 Blue Jays, Kelly had barely made it three innings, (he got pulled after the grand slam) and worst of all, it looked like the Red Sox could not win without David Price. Noe Ramirez even gave up two more hits before a third out in that same inning.

But in the 6th, the Red Sox began to prove everyone wrong.  Xander Bogaerts drove a double to left, and Big Papi walked.  When Hanley Ramirez grounded out, they both advanced a base.  Travis Shaw then walked to load the bases.  Guess who was back up?  Brock Holt.  Holt just barely got the grand slam to right.  It looked like he would have to settle for a double but just reached the bullpen.  The Sox had suddenly cut Toronto’s lead to just 1 run.

Meanwhile, the bullpen was impressing everyone.  The Blue Jays lineup was held to just 1 hit since the dreaded 4th inning.

In the 7th, the Red Sox went on a two run, four hit rally.  David Ortiz drove in run #1 of the inning on a base hit that drove in Pedroia.  Hanley Ramirez drove in the 2nd run with Big Papi on first and Bogaerts on third.  With that Bogaerts scored his third run of the game.  It was now 8-7, the Red Sox leading.  Junichi Tazawa additionally got the Boston bullpen their first 1-2-3 on the Jays.  They were trying their hardest to stay in control until Craig Kimbrel was ready to close the game.  After a quiet two innings for the Sox lineup, Kimbrel went out to finish the game on a 1-2-3.

After a game full of grand slams, rallying and big surprises, the Red Sox had come back to take down the Blue Jays 8-7.  If they keep playing like this, they could actually fight for a playoff spot.  Even if their rotation is iffy beyond Price, just as I said in my Opening Day Preview,  the powerful lineup and bullpen just need to stay consistent for a good season.  To go beyond getting a wild card, the Sox will need to be capable of outplaying the Jays head to head.  That could be their key to their first pennant in three years.  Catch game 2 of Red Sox @ Blue Jays on NESN.  The Bruins also play their final regular season game as they fight for a playoff slot. Things are looking up for Boston Sports this weekend.

 

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Betts, Papi Homer, lead Red Sox to Victory

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Man on 1st, one out.  Big Papi up to bat.  On a line drive, he hits a homer to right!  The Red Sox lead the Indians, 6-2.

After being postponed for extreme cold on Monday, the Red Sox took down the Cleveland Indians 6-2 in their 2016 Opening Day victory.  David Ortiz and Mookie Betts both hit big dingers to lift the Red Sox over Terry Francona’s new team.  David Price also made his Red Sox debut in the game, striking out 10 and giving up 2 ER and 5 hits in 6.0 innings.

Neither team got a hit until the 2nd inning, when Travis Shaw and Brock Holt both singled.  Meanwhile, David Price had kept the Indians to no hits through two. In the 3rd, after a JBJ single, Mookie Betts hit a two run bomb into left!  Mookie Betts had hit the first of a potential many homers.  David Ortiz later cracked a strong double to right center with two outs.  It was almost an additional homer but went too low.

The Sox were up 2-0 going into the 4th, but the Indians took charge in their half of this inning.  Francisco Lindor got the base hit, and after additional singles by Carlos Santana and Yan Gomes, he scored.  Juan Uribe drove in Santana on another base hit but the inning ended with two left on base.

After a quiet inning at the plate, David Price and the Sox took charge in the bottom of the 5th.  The first out was a liner Mookie Betts had to dive to get.  He chased it, leaped in the air and snagged it!!! What a catch! This is the kind of stuff Betts does best.

The Red Sox lineup then worked its magic in the top of the 6th, Hanley Ramirez got a base hit, and Travis Shaw knocked him to third with another hit!  Brock Holt drove Ramirez in and Shaw to second base.

Indians ace Corey Kluber was beginning to get tired, and he showed it.  Blake Swihart grounded into a force out; Shaw went to third, Holt got out at second, and he was safe.  That was followed by a wild pitch with JBJ at bat to score Shaw and send Swiahrt to second.  Bradley Jr. walked and that did it for exhausted Kluber.  Not the best day for him.

Right handed reliever Jeff Manship took his place.  He took control, and Mookie Betts ended the inning on a double play.   David Price kept control in the bottom of the 6th, striking out one, and finishing off a good outing with a 1-2-3.  With Manship pitching in the seventh, Xander Bogaerts got to second on an error.  David Ortiz got an intentional walk.  Hanley Ramirez also walked to load the bases.

Ross Detwiler came in and casually finished the inning.  Junichi Tazawa pitched a 1-2-3 as Tyler Naquin came in to the game as a pinch hitter.  In the 8th, Joba Chamberlain came in to pitch and the outfield re-assembled to fit Naquin.  Blake Swihart tried to steal after a walk but got caught and Chamberlain finished the inning hitless.

In the top of the 9th, the Red Sox were at it again.  Dustin Pedroia walked, and when Big Papi came up to bat, he hit his first dinger of the season.  He has one more year to extend his finger record after reaching 500 last year.  Hanley Ramirez singled after Ortiz cleared the bases.

Craig Kimbrel easily finished the game in around 15 pitches.  Kimbrel, the new closer is one of the best in the league.  The Red Sox took down the Indians 6-2.  Mookie Betts and David Ortiz along with David Price were stars of the game. The Dox finish the series in the next two nights.

Swihart Makes History, Red Sox Catch Mets

The Red Sox caught the Mets and beat them in extras 6-4.  In the 10th tied 3-3, Blake Swihart hit a ball that appeared to go high off the padding of the center field wall for an inside the park dinger by Swihart.  Even though replays later appeared to show the ball hit above the wall, the call stood making Swihart the first Red Sox player with an inside-the-park HR since September 9, 2011 and the first Red Sox catcher in over 70 years.  They weren’t done as JBJ singled and Mookie Betts doubled.  Josh Rutledge then hit a sac fly that drove in Bradley Jr.  5-3.  Mookie Betts scored when Xander Bogaerts singled in the next at bat.

In the bottom of the inning, Junichi Tazawa struggled after the first 2 outs.  He walked 4 straight, giving the Mets their 4th run.  Good thing the Sox got those insurance runs.  He appeared to hurt his back on a double play that stopped Wilmer Flores from advancing after a single.  Craig Breslow was the only Sox left in the pen and got Cespedes to fly out to earn the save.  Tommy Layne who pitched the 9th got the win.  Carlos Torres, who gave up the inside the park homer took the loss.

The Mets scored first off Henry Owens in the 4th inning.  The Sox rarely win when their opponents score first.  Wilmer Flores doubled and Travis d’Arnaud singled him in.  1-0 Mets.  In the 5th David Wright singled and Michael Cuddyer drove him in with another.  2-0.  But the Red Sox answered with a 7th inning rally.  Big Papi got it started with a solo shot to center and JBJ went deep to drive in Swihart, who had singled and stole second.  3-2 Red Sox.  The Mets tied it up in the bottom of the inning.  Yoenis Cespedes walked and David Wright singled him to second.  Ogando walked the next two batters for the first of two runs scored on walks by New York.

In the 8th, Sandoval hit a ball about 2 inches that was ruled in play for an easy out.  He was thrown out of the game for arguing the call.  Josh Rutledge took over second and Brock Holt moved to third.

Tommy Layne kept the Sox alive in the bottom of the 9th.  Then Swihart made history to spark the 3-run 10th.

Watch today’s game at 4:05 pm.  It’s Jacob DeGrom, the surprise ace for the Mets, and Joe Kelly for the Sox.  Kelly is undefeated in August, going 5-0 through 5 starts.  He hopes to continue his streak after an extremely disappointing first four months.

Wright Follows Through, Red Sox Top Yankees

The Red Sox defeated the Yankees in a 2-1 pitcher’s duel.  Steven Wright lasted 8 innings, giving up only 3 hits, 1 earned run, walking 2 and striking out 9.  The Sox scored first in the second inning.  Mike Napoli reached on a 2 base throwing error by third baseman Chase Headley.  And Alejandro De Aza nearly knocked the ball out of Yankee Stadium with an RBI double.

Meanwhile, Steven Wright was tossing a no-hitter to a powerful Yankees lineup.  The Sox struck again in the 4th with a Big Papi 424 foot solo shot into right field.  2-0 Sox.  Yankees debuting youngster Luis Severino lasted 5 innings, giving up two runs and only 2 hits.  Steven Wright’s no-hitter was broken up in the 5th, by 2 singles to make it 1st and 2nd.  In the 7th, Pablo Sandoval lined a ball to right field for an easy double.  Mike Napoli was hit by the pitch, and neither De Aza or Swihart could knock in an insurance run.

Carlos Beltran led off with a dinger in the bottom of the 7th to right center, making it 2-1 Sox.  But Wright hung in there and got the rest of the side out in order.  In the top of the 8th, John Ryan Murphy robbed Xander Bogaerts’ foul ball to end the inning.  Wright nearly got himself in a jam after that.  Murphy led off with a single.  Then the speedy former Sox player Jacoby Ellsbury, hit a ball off Wright’s leg, and Bogaerts turned it into a double play.  Even Ellsbury wasn’t up to pace with Bogaerts.

Wright pitched 106 pitches through 8 innings, leading it to the top of the 9th.  Yankees shining end of the bullpen set up man Chasen Shreve came in for lefties Ortiz and Sandoval.  Sandoval hit a ground rule double that looked gone when he hit it.  He intentionally walks Napoli, then Rusney Castillo pinch hit for De Aza.  He walked the bases loaded.  But Swihart failed to knock in an insurance run with bases loaded, two outs, and was called out on strikes.  On the second out, it looked like it bounced before going into diving Castillo’s glove.  Teixeira was credited for a base hit after Joe Girardi’s challenge.  Headley walked, but JBJ ran to make the final out on pinch hitter Brian McCann and lead the Sox to a 2-1 win.  The Sox rode youngsters JBJ and Wright and future hall of famer Big Papi, plus utility waiver pick-up Alejandro De Aza to a 2-1 win, Wright pitching a gem, and his best game of possibly his entire MLB career.  The Sox and Yanks play the rubber match tonight at 7.

Napoli, Red Sox Edge Rays

The Red Sox edged over the Rays in a 7-5 win last night.  Mike Napoli’s 7th inning home gave the lead back to the Red Sox after losing it.

The Rays scored first, walking and then singling into first and third.  Then a walk by Logan Forsythe loaded the bases. Joey Butler grounded into a force out and lead runner Brandon Guyer scored.  Evan Longoria made it safely to third, but Forsythe was out at second.

In the bottom of the 1st, Xander Bogaerts reached on a fielding error, by Logan Forsythe.  Bogaerts went to second on Erasmo Ramirez’s wild pitch.  Tim Beckham made another fielding error that made it first and third.  Mike Napoli walked the bases loaded, and De Aza kept it that way with an RBI single.  1-1.  Rusney Castillo then grounds into a force out, getting Ortiz at the plate.  Blake Swihart knocked 2 runs in on a single the next at bat.  3-1 Sox.

The game stays action packed as recently called up Mikie Mahtook doubles.  With two down, Brandon Guyer struck out, but on a wild pitch sending him to first and Mahtook to third.  Steven Souza Jr. singles a run in.  Then Evan longoria walks the bases loaded, but it doesn’t do it to tie things up.  That inning, the Sox blow it with Brock Holt on second.

In the 3rd, Asdrubal Cabrera singles, and Mikie Mahtook singles him in.  1 run, 1 RBI for 2015 debuting Mikie Mahtook.  the Red Sox struck again in the 5th.  Holt singled, and Bogaerts advanced him to second.  Then Napoli walked, and De Aza singled Holt in.  In the 7th, the Rays struck.  With 1st and second, John Jaso pinch hit doubled Mikie Mahtook in for his second run of the night.  Joey Butler also scored from first, and Jaso went to third on a Blake Swihart error, and just like that it was 5-4 Rays.  In the bottom of the inning, big Papi hit a ball just foul that could ave gone for a double.  He ended up walking.  Napoli hit his dinger to give the Sox a 6-5 lead.

For the most part, it was a quiet game after that.  Blake Swihart douled, and scored on a wild pitch off Brandon Gomes followed by a Josh Rutledge single to extend the lead to 7-5, but that was it.  Uehara got the save.  The Red Sox beat the Rays 7-5, Junichi Tazawa the winning pitcher, Jake McGee the losing pitcher.  Tampa Bay had 3 errors and the Red Sox had 2.  A win today and it a winning streak. A 6-0 lead and Travis Shaw’s first career dinger after 4 innings looks good.

Red Sox Cream Sale, White Sox

The Red Sox came back to cream the White Sox in an 8-2 blowout.  The rare thing is, the White Sox were the first to score on a Jose Abreu dinger bringing Adam Eaton home.  2-0 Chicago.  But that was only the top of the 1st.

In the bottom of that very inning, Xander Bogaerts singled on a sharp line drive deflecting off Chris Sale, hurting him, and passing shortstop Alexei Ramirez.    He stole second and went ot third on a wild alpitch.  Ortiz doubled down the right field line to drive him in.

In the bottom of the 4th, it was still 2-1.  Ortiz singled, and Napoli walked him to second.  Castillo grounded into a force out, Napoli getting out and Castillo being safe at first with Big Papi on third.  Then Panda got hit, but swung, so it was strike three called.  Sandoval had to leave the game due to a her and injury (Handoval?) and Josh Rutledge again took over at third.  Can Panda last you 9 inning games?

The Red Sox finally followed through in the 5th inning.  JBJ was hit by the pitch, and Holt grounded into a force out, Bradley out at second, Holt safe.  Then Bogaerts singled as he dashed to third.  Hanley Ramirez singled Holt in, and it was still 1st and 3rd, and even though he looked hurt, he was fine and stayed in.  Then Big Papi singled Bogaerts in, and the Red Sox had themselves a 3-2 lead.

They rallied again in the 6th.  They loaded the bases, with a Castillo single, Rutledge HBP, and Swihart single.  JBJ singled again and the bases remained loaded, but it was 4-2.  Holt hits a 2 run single.  1st and 3rd, 6-2 Red Sox.  Matt Albers comes in on relief.  Bogaerts sac fly.  7-2.  After two outs and a Big Papi IBB, as the inning ends.  Albers was stupid to walk his former teammate.  In the 7th,

Castillo gets his 2nd dinger this season, a solo shot in to dead center.  The game ended with pitchers luck, and Leury Garcia, a member of my Tap Baseball team, pinch hitting for catcher Tyler Flowers and a strike out victim of Junichi Tazawa, who closed the game.

The Red Sox split the series with Chicago, but are stillclear sellers at today’s deadline.  Watch for July Rankings and a deadline recap, for Boston and all blockbuster trades, including Scott Kazmir’s trade to Houston, known to me as this year’s kickoff trade.

After Deadline: Sox Moves and Starters for 8/1

I did an article a week ago about the Red Sox, as BUYERS.  Look, the Sox are sellers again, lets face it?  But what should they do?  Well, lets start with who to sell.

Napoli needs to find a new team, or get released.  I still think you should sell Napoli and Koji in one deal, but for a young right handed pitcher. I liked the move with Victorino.  Maybe also sell De Aza, but not without an interested team willing to give you wicked good prospects.  They should have some luck finding one after what De Aza’s done.

Well, what do they do without Victorino, Napoli, Koji and maybe De Aza?

Well, lets start with the starting nine.  In the outfield, I’d try a Bradley Jr./Betts/Castillo outfield.  It’s better to experiment now then realize it won’t work next March.   Nava?  If this outfield isn’t reasonable for 2016, bring in Nava to replace the struggling youngster next year.

Now onto the infield.  Keep Panda at third.  Even though first is an easy position, he’s made so many errors, and changing positions could just cause more.  Bogaerts fits great at short.  Pedroia’s got second covered, but while he’s on the DL and Holt’s day to day, try Josh Rutledge at second.  Rutledge was acquired for Victorino.  Holt can also play it when he returns.  First is another issue.  Holt, Shaw, Big Papi, I’d try Big Papi again at first, but if he doesn’t hit well with it, then it’s only temporary.  Train Ramirez at first.  Start the Hanley at first experiment now.  We all know that when Papi retires Ramirez will be best at DH.  The Sox already said they signed him for his hitting, not his fielding.

At catcher, it’s a no-brainer.  Don’t change anything.  Swihart, and Hanigan for now, but Vazquez and Swihart next year.  And Big Papi is a lock at DH, as long as he wants to keep playing.  When Holt comes back, he’s a lock at second by the way.

Here’s my lineup for them.  If Castillo hits well, try him earlier in.  But, really, not much change is required.

Betts CF

Holt 2B

Bogaerts SS

Ortiz DH

Ramirez 1B

Sandoval 3B

Castillo RF

Bradley Jr. LF

Hanigan C

Now for pitching.  The rotation needs a fix.  First up should be Eduardo Rodriguez.  He’s a young starter of the future that needs to be treated like the ace now, with Buchholz on the DL until most likely September.  Second, Wade Miley.  He still has been decent throughout the year, and you have to be able to count on him.  Third, I regret it, but you’re stuck with Porcello.  Pay him $22 million for nothing, and that’s just what happens. Fourth, I’d call up Henry Owens, starting super-prospect.  However he’s doing in Pawtucket, give him a try.  Maybe he’ll be the next Eddie Rodriguez. Give Johnson another try to wrap up the rotation.  But that would be four lefty pitchers.  If that doesn’t work, option Johnson down, and replace him with Steven Wright or the young righty you get for Koji.   The young knuckleballer has a long career ahead of him, and if he can adapt to a complete MLB environment, he might go down as a famous knuckle ball pitcher someday.  And whoever that guy is, you need to consider him.  When Buchholz returns, likely not till mid-September as he was transferred to the 60 day DL, maybe not for the rest of the season, bump everyone down a spot, and send either Wright or Owens to the bullpen.

Lastly, the bullpen.  Justin Masterson, Craig Breslow, Robbie Ross Jr. and Tommy Layne are your everyday relievers.  Then you have Junichi Tazawa, your set up man, Alexi Ogando, a speed thrower, and Joe Kelly, a possible minor leaguer.  Kelly can’t start, but he can pitch an inning or two decently.  Make him the closer.  If he stinks at closer, try out Ogando closing.  Why Ogando?  One, he has an 100 mph fastball, two he’s a former Rangers starter, so it’s not a big move.  If they make those moves, the future is very bright for the Sox in 2016, maybe not until 2017 or 18 if they need a couple developmental years, but the future is bright, with plenty of prospects you can count on waiting to be recalled from the farm system.