May 31, 2015

Everything We Know About Ty Cobb Is (Apparently) Wrong

As Allen Barra, reviewing Charles Leerhsen's "Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty", writes in the Boston Globe:
Cobb was a loyal teammate and straight-arrow ballplayer, tough but fair, something of an intellectual (or what passed for same in World War I-era baseball), and — please pause after reading this so you can absorb it fully — a racial moderate in favor of fairness for black ballplayers. ...

[I]f veteran sportswriter Leerhsen is correct about Cobb — and his book is assiduously researched and his points lucidly expressed — then "A Terrible Beauty" is not only the best work ever written on this American sports legend: It's a major reconsideration of a reputation unfairly maligned for decades. ...

Intellectually curious, he loved biographies of Jefferson and Napoleon; his favorite fiction was "Les Miserables" ... He was far from the Scrooge-like miser depicted in books and articles. He did a lot of charity work ...

Evidence that Cobb was a virulent bigot is slim to nonexistent. ... Leerhsen has tracked down the famous stories of Cobb insulting and assaulting African Americans, and in some cases discovered that the targets of Cobb's alleged wrath were not black. ...

[M]ost of the stories that sprung up about him were exaggerated or just plain nonsense. No other player in the game's history had a career so clouded by malicious gossip and just plain lies; many of the tales were invented in articles and in a famous biography by a sportswriter who hated him, Al Stump.
See also reviews in the New York Post and New York Times.

G51: Rangers 4, Red Sox 3

Red Sox - 110 001 000 - 3 11  3
Rangers - 101 000 002 - 4  8  1
Josh Hamilton, pinch-hitting with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, doubled home two runs off Koji Uehara to give Texas a win.

The Red Sox held three leads during the game - and lost them all.

Manager John Farrell met with five of the team's veterans before the game. ESPN reported that Farrell was "looking for more aggressiveness. He felt the team had a 'very tentative approach' to Saturday's game". Perhaps answering that call for aggressiveness, the Red Sox stole four bases in today's game (Hanley Ramirez, Mookie Betts, Blake Swihart, Rusney Castillo).

Xander Bogaerts went 3-for-4. ... Castillo and Ramirez each had two hits. ... All 11 of Boston's hits were singles.

May is now complete:
Fewest Runs/Game (In May In Team History)
1907 - 2.38 - 57 runs in 24 games (7-17)
1906 - 2.81 - 73 runs in 26 games (4-22)
2015 - 2.83 - 82 runs in 29 games (10-19)
1914 - 3.08 - 80 runs in 26 games (13-13)
1915 - 3.09 - 72 runs in 21 games (12-9)
Note: The 1915 team went on to win the World Series.
Example
Joe Kelly / Wandy Rodriguez
Pedroia, 2B
Betts, CF
Ortiz, DH
Ramirez, LF
Napoli, 1B
Sandoval, 3B
Bogaerts, SS
Swihart, C
Castillo, RF

Runs Per Game In May: The Worst In Red Sox History

Could this be the worst May for scoring runs in Red Sox history?

Fox wanted to give its viewers that impression when it broadcast this graphic early in Saturday's debacle against the Rangers:
Fewest Runs/Game (In May Since 1920)
2015 - 2.93
1932 - 3.16
1943 - 3.17
1929 - 3.24
1923 - 3.35
But why only "since 1920"? It's not as though game scores from 1901-1919 are unknown or unavailable. In fact, Baseball Reference has runs scored/runs allowed splits by month for the Red Sox all the way back to 1901. (Here's a link to 1907's schedule and results.)

It took me only 10 minutes to check the totals for those other 19 seasons. I did a little division, and bam! Here's a complete and up-to-date list of the worst Mays for scoring runs in Red Sox history:
Fewest Runs/Game (In May In Team History)
1907 - 2.38
1906 - 2.81
2015 - 2.82 (does not include 5/31)
1914 - 3.08
1915 - 3.09
Okay, it's not the worst, but you've got to go back nearly 110 years to find worse.

May 30, 2015

G50: Rangers 8, Red Sox 0

Red Sox - 000 000 000 - 0  5  3
Rangers - 100 410 20x - 8 13  0

Example
Wade Miley / Alex Gonzalez
Pedroia, 2B
Betts, CF
Ortiz, DH
Ramirez, LF
Sandoval, 3B
Napoli, 1B
Holt, SS
Leon, C
Castillo, RF
David Ortiz makes his return to the lineup after a couple of days of working on his swing. Big Papi is hitting .216/.303/.377 and is currently stuck in a 3-for-31 slump (.097 in his last eight games).
Sometimes it [the time off] works and sometimes it doesn't. For me, it worked once. I'll try it again now and go from there. I've just been thinking too much and overdoing things. Sometimes that works and sometimes that doesn't. I know this ballclub needs me, and now we have a long season ahead. I'm just going to try to pull the best out of this.
Miley has a 1.25 ERA over his last three starts (A's, Rangers, Angels). In his last outing, against Los Angeles, he gave up only one run and four hits in eight innings.

"Chi Chi" Gonzalez, 23, will be making his major league debut. He was the Rangers' No. 1 draft pick in 2013 and has a 4.15 ERA in AAA this season.

May 29, 2015

G49: Rangers 7, Red Sox 4

Red Sox - 000 200 020 - 4  6  0
Rangers - 011 100 22x - 7 12  1
Hanley Ramirez's 12th home run of the year, an opposite field drive which just squeaked over the fence in right, cut the Rangers' lead to 5-4 in the eighth inning, and provided some hope that the Red Sox might come back on the Rangers.

But those hopes were dashed when Craig Breslow put two men on base after two were out in the home half of the eighth and Matt Barnes allowed them both to score - on a double by Robinson Chrinos. Josh Hamilton hit two solo home runs and scored three times for Texas.

Boston trailed for most of the game, though they did tie the score at 2-2 in the fourth. Ramirez singled and Mike Napoli worked a nine-pitch walk. Brock Holt grounded back to the mound and Yovani Gallardo's bounced his throw to second base and shortstop Hanser Alberto could not catch it. It was ruled an error and the bases were loaded with no outs. Xander Bogaerts flied out to right which brought in one run, and Blake Swihart singled in another run. Rusney Castillo grounded into a double play to end the rally.

The Red Sox fell to 22-27.
Example
Steven Wright / Yovani Gallardo
Pedroia, 2B
Betts, CF
Sandoval, 3B
Ramirez, DH
Napoli, 1B
Holt, LF
Bogaerts, SS
Swihart, C
Castillo, RF

Reconsider, Baby!

Two days ago, John Farrell said Eduardo Rodriguez's major league debut was designed to give the five members of the rotation an extra day of rest and he would be sent back to Pawtucket after the game.

When asked what would happen if Rodriguez pitched "really, really, really well," Farrell responded, "Then we'll have to really, really, really reconsider."


NESN: Far From Professional

Screengrabber:
[Thursday's] NESN broadcast of the Red Sox-Twins game featured a mid-game interlude of the announcers discussing their memories of the dear, departed Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. It also featured video of the Metrodome being imploded — something that never happened.

The video NESN aired is of the implosion of Seattle's Kingdome in 2000. Stranger still, the video was digitally edited to add a roof and other elements of the building that did not exist when the Kingdome was blown up ...
This is completely bizarre, especially the lame Photoshopping of a dome onto the building, a dome that instantly vanishes as the implosion begins.

This raises several questions. If the brilliant minds at NESN knew the Metrodome had a roof and they had some footage of a stadium without a roof, wouldn't that have suggested to them that perhaps that stadium was NOT the Metrodome? Nope. They just clumsily added a roof to the video. ... And then got busy thinking of a follow-up to the Wally Wave.

May 28, 2015

G48: Red Sox 5, Rangers 1

Red Sox - 000 011 030 - 5 13  0
Rangers - 000 000 001 - 1  5  1
Eduardo Rodriguez's major league debut could not have gone any better.

The 22-year-old lefty was simply superb, tossing one of the best pitched games of the season. He was poised and wasted no time in attacking the strike zone. Through the first four innings, he allowed only one hit on 43 pitches. He allowed only four baserunners through his first seven innings and finished with a 7.2-3-0-2-7, 105 line. He threw 68 strikes (65%).

I don't think I've been truly excited by a game like this all season.

According to Jon Shestakofsky, Boston's Manager of Media Relations & Baseball Information:
"At 7.2 innings, Eduardo Rodriguez has the longest scoreless outing by a Red Sox in his major league debut since Billy Rohr in 1967 (9.0 IP)."

"Rodriguez is 1st MLB left-hander since Karl Spooner in 1954 to have scoreless debut longer than 7.0 IP with 7+ SO and no more than 3 hits."
(Rodriguez was also the youngest Red Sox pitcher to make his debut on the road since 21-year-old Roger Clemens in 1985. Billy Rohr was 21 when he won in his debut in New York against the Yankees on April 14, 1967.)

And the offense came alive for him, totaling 13 hits, five walks, and five runs, despite hitting into five double plays. Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia each had three hits. Blake Swihart singled twice and drove in two runs and Hanley Ramirez hit a solo home run and a double.

Rodriguez relied almost exclusively on his fastball the first time through the Rangers' lineup, using his cutter and slider more often later in the game. He retired the side in order in the first, striking out price fielder on a slider for the third out. Josh Hamilton doubled with one out in the second, but Rodriguez struck out Mitch Moreland and got Elvis Andrus on a fly to center. Texas' next baserunner came with two outs in the fifth, when Andrus walked; Rodriguez recorded three strikeouts in that frame.

Rodriguez seemed to be finished after the seventh (and 90 pitches) - he gave a little nod to the heavens when he left the mound - but he was back out there for the eighth. He quickly struck out the first two batters before allowing a walk and a single. Tommy Layne came in and struck out Shin-Soo Choo to end the inning. Layne gave up one run in the ninth and Farrell called on Koji Uehara to get the final out. Uehara threw only one pitch - and Andrus flied to Castillo in deep right.

Boston scored in the fifth on singles from Swihart, Pedroia, and Betts. Ramirez went deep to open the sixth. The Red Sox rallied with two down in the eighth. Mike Napoli walked against Tanner Scheppers. Sam Freeman came in and faced four batters - he did not retire any of them. He hit Brock Holt and walked Carlos Peguero. With the bases loaded, Swihart singled in two runs and Rusney Castillo's single brought in a third run.

Peguero, recently acquired from the Rangers, was in the game because Xander Bogaerts was drilled near the left wrist by a pitch in the second inning. He played in the field for two innings before leaving the game.
Example
Eduardo Rodriguez / Nick Martinez
Pedroia, 2B
Betts, CF
Sandoval, 3B
Ramirez, DH
Napoli, 1B
Holt, LF
Bogaerts, SS
Swihart, C
Castillo, RF
Rodriguez, 22, will be making his major league debut. With the Red Sox currently in a stretch of 20 games without a day off - their next off day is June 8 - Rodriguez will give the rotation an extra day of rest. Manager John Farrell said that the lefty would be sent back to Pawtucket after the game.

Rodriguez has a 2.98 ERA in eight starts for the PawSox and has averaged almost one strikeout per inning (44 in 48.1 IP). He has pitched at least six innings in five of his eight starts.

Sox Prospects lists him as Boston's #4 prospect (he was acquired from Baltimore in the Andrew Miller trade last July):
Mechanics: Stands middle of the rubber. Hands set just above the belt. High leg drive up to elbow generating power. Slight knee bend on posting leg over the rubber. Will often drift toward home early. Three-quarters arm slot. Long arm action in back. Easy, loose arm. Plus arm speed. Smooth delivery. Stays on-line towards the plate. Gets himself in good fielding position.

Fastball: 91-94 mph. Has touched 97 mph. Plus fastball. Average command and control. Uses both side of the plate effectively. Fastball can be fairly straight and lack movement, but shows occasional arm-side tail.

Changeup: 84-86 mph. Future plus potential. Hard, sinking fade away from left-handed hitters. Willingness to throw in any count and to both sides of the plate. Throws most comfortably in the upper velocity range where he gets his best movement on the pitch. Orioles organization reportedly tried to get him to throw the pitch in the low 80s, but after trade began throwing it harder, which is more comfortable for him. Sells pitch well without slowing arm speed.

Slider: 82-85 mph. Solid-average potential. Ability to throw for strikes to both sides of the plate. Two-plane movement. Lacks consistency and bite. ...

Summation: Ceiling of a quality number three starter. Three average-to-above-average pitch mix. Pitches with confidence and poise. Working hard to improve. Works in and out and stays around the plate. Improving slider and consistency with the pitch will be key to future success.

For the Rangers, Martinez has allowed three earned runs or fewer in his last 15 starts, dating back to last August. So, he's due to get rocked.

May 27, 2015

G47: Twins 6, Red Sox 4

Red Sox - 002 020 000 - 4  7  0
Twins   - 003 201 00x - 6  8  0
Dustin Pedroia hit two two-run homers. ... Rick Porcello: 7-7-6-2-2, 94. ... Boston's #3-#7 hitters went 1-19.

David Ortiz, Hanley Ramirez, and Pablo Sandoval went 4-for-35 (.114) in Minnesota's three-game sweep.

The Red Sox have lost six of their last eight games and are 9-16 (.360) this month.
Example
Rick Porcello / Phil Hughes
Pedroia, 2B
Betts, CF
Sandoval, 3B
Ramirez, LF
Ortiz, DH
Napoli, 1B
Bogaerts, SS
Holt, RF
Swihart, C
News: Eduardo Rodriguez will be called up from Pawtucket and make his major league debut starting against the Rangers in Arlington tomorrow night.

May 26, 2015

Rabble.tv: Broadcast The Game Yourself

After all my complaints about NESN (and baseball broadcasting teams in general), I'm glad to offer a possible alternative.

Rabble TV is a new site where fans can sign up and broadcast the games themselves. According to the Help page, these are the very simple instructions:
1. Pick up the remote control to your TV.
2. Press the MUTE button.
3. Grab a mic.
4. Create a broadcast on Rabble.TV.
You can also see if the game/event you want to watch is being broadcasting by anyone. It looks like there are at least two broadcast alternatives for Red Sox games.

G46: Twins 2, Red Sox 1

Red Sox - 010 000 000 - 1  7  1
Twins   - 200 000 00x - 2  7  0
Only when the Red Sox were down to their last four outs did they finally get their second runner beyond first base. The first one had come in the second inning when David Ortiz doubled and scored on Mike Napoli's single.

Now, facing Blaine Boyer in the eighth, Dustin Pedroia grounded a two-out single to right and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Mookie Betts walked. The Twins brought in closer Glen Perkins and Pablo Sandoval, hitting only .071 against lefties this year, reached on an infield single. Brian Dozier ranged far to his right and gloved it behind the second base bag, but did not have a play. With the bases loaded, Hanley Ramirez flied out to right.

Perkins retired the Sox in order in the ninth.

Minnesota hit three doubles off Clay Buchholz (7.1-7-2-1-4, 102) in the first inning and scored twice. It turns out that would be all the runs the Twins would need. Buchholz ended up turning in a decent performance, retiring the side in the second, third, sixth, and seventh innings. He got a double play to escape a bases loaded/one out jam in the fourth.

Despite cutting the lead to 2-1 in the second, Boston could not do much against Mike Pelfrey (7-5-1-1-4, 100). Betts singled in the first but was erased on a double play. Sandy Leon singled to start the third, but watched as the next three hitters flied out. Napoli walked with two outs in the fourth and Leon singled in the fifth, but again, their teammates were unable to advance them.

Rusney Castillo made two outstanding diving catches, one in right-center and the one diving head first towards the right field foul line.

There was a rain delay of 81 minutes before the start of the game.
Example
Clay Buchholz / Mike Pelfrey
Pedroia, 2B
Betts, CF
Sandoval, 3B
Ramirez, LF
Ortiz, DH
Napoli, 1B
Bogaerts, SS
Castillo, RF
Leon, C

May 25, 2015

G45: Twins 7, Red Sox 2

Red Sox - 002 000 000 - 2  8  0
Twins   - 160 000 00x - 7 16  0
Joe Kelly registered only five outs (1.2-8-7-1-0, 52).

Dustin Pedroia, Mookie Betts, and Mike Napoli each had two hits.
Example
Joe Kelly / Ricky Nolasco
Pedroia, 2B
Betts, CF
Ortiz, DH
Ramirez, LF
Sandoval, 3B
Napoli, 1B
Bogaerts, SS
Nava, RF
Swihart, C

May 24, 2015

G44: Red Sox 6, Angels 1

Angels  - 000 001 000 - 1  4  0
Red Sox - 020 010 03x - 6 12  0
Wade Miley pitched eight commanding innings (8-4-1-1-2, 97), Mike Napoli drove in four runs with a home run and a double, and Xander Bogaerts went 4-for-4.

Bogaerts was on first base in the second inning when Napoli crushed a pitch roughly a dozen rows up in the bleachers in dead center. ESPN Stats and Info said it travelled 450 feet, the longest home run hit at Fenway this season. It was Napoli's fifth dong in his last six games.

Bogaerts collected four hits for the third time in his career: he went 4-for-5 on September 2, 2014, and 4-for-8 on April 10 of this year.

Miley retired the first 14 Angels before walking Chris Iannetta in the fifth. C.J. Cron followed with a single, but Miley retired Matt Joyce to end the inning. Mike Trout had an RBI-double in the sixth. Miley shrugged that off, retiring the side in order in the seventh and erasing a one-out hit in the eighth by inducing a double play.

The Red Sox (now only 2.5 GB in the East) begin a six-game road trip to Minnesota and Texas with a game against the Twins tomorrow at 2 PM.
Example
Hector Santiago / Wade Miley
Pedroia, 2B
Betts, CF
Ramirez, LF
Ortiz, DH
Bogaerts, SS
Napoli, 1B
Castillo, RF
Holt, 3B
Leon, C
Roster move: Shane Victorino was put on the 15-day disabled list and infielder Jeff Bianchi was called up from Pawtucket.

May 23, 2015

G43: Red Sox 8, Angels 3

Angels  - 200 000 010 - 3  6  1
Red Sox - 011 002 22x - 8 12  0
In play, run(s)!

The Red Sox scored eight runs on Saturday night - more runs than they had scored in a game in nearly one month (April 28). It was their largest margin of victory since a 7-1 win over Baltimore on April 20.

Mike Napoli hit two home runs, Brock Holt and Blake Swihart each scored twice, and Mookie Betts (who did not start) drove in two runs, as eight of the nine starters got at least one hit. David Ortiz was the outsider, going 0-for-4, after reaching base in all of the previous 19 home games this year. Steven Wright (6.1-4-2-1-2, 75) pitched extremely well and the bullpen took care of business the rest of the way with little drama.

The start of the game gave little indication of how it would end. By the time Wright had thrown 10 pitches, the Angels had three hits and two runs. Erick Aybar began the game with a single to right and after Mike Trout flied to right, Albert Pujols and Kole Calhoun stroked back-to-back doubles.

Wright promptly settled down, though, retiring the next 10 batters and 18 of the next 19. After issuing his first walk of the game with one out in the seventh, he was lifted, having thrown only 75 pitches. It was a curious decision, as Wright had thrown 110 pitches in relief on May 12 and 83 pitches in his previous start. (Perhaps John Farrell was concerned about the 12 flyball outs the knuckle-balling Wright had recorded.)

Napoli nailed a solo home run in the second - nearing hitting a target drawn on a fan's sign in the second row of the Monster Seats - to halve LA's lead and Boston tied the game in the third. Holt walked and took second on a wild pitch. Dustin Pedroia singled to right and Betts (pinch-hitting for Shane Victorino, who left the game with left calf tightness) singled to left. Hanley Ramirez reached on an infield single, as the Angels nearly nipped Betts at second, loading the bases. Ortiz grounded into a 3-6-1 double play.

Ramirez walked to open the sixth. With two outs, Napoli launched a bomb to left-center that sailed out of the park and gave Boston a 4-2 lead. Napoli's batting average is now up to a season-best .193.

The Angels used four pitchers in the seventh and Boston scored twice, Xander Bogaerts driving in both runs with a bases-loaded single. In the eighth, Holt singled with one out and took off on the 0-1 pitch to Swihart. The Boston catcher tapped a slow grounder into right field. As Calhoun ran in and fielded the ball, Holt was at third - and had not slowed down. He scored easily as Calhoun, startled to see him on his way to the plate, made a late throw. Betts knocked in Swihart with the Sox's final run.

The Red Sox came into the game hitting .203 with RATS/RISP. They went 6-for-12 in those situations tonight. ... They also gained a game in the standings and are now 3.5 GB the Rays. ... Adding to the day's fun: the Yankees gave up 10 runs in the third inning and lost to Texas 15-4. New York has lost nine of its last 10 games.
Example
C.J. Wilson / Steven Wright
Pedroia, 2B
Victorino, RF
Ramirez, LF
Ortiz, DH
Bogaerts, SS
Napoli, 1B
Castillo, CF
Holt, 3B
Swihart, C
Dustin Pedroia: "Everybody's pissed."

May 22, 2015

Robots, Please!

G42: Angels 12, Red Sox 5

Angels  - 000 290 010 - 12 12  2
Red Sox - 010 200 200 -  5 11  3

Example
Garrett Richards / Rick Porcello
Betts, CF
Pedroia, 2B
Ortiz, DH
Ramirez, LF
Bogaerts, SS
Napoli, 1B
Holt, 3B
Castillo, RF
Swihart, C
Rusney Castillo has been promoted from Pawtucket, with Jackie Bradley being sent down.

The AL East, with games behind and run differentials:
      W   L    GB  DIFF
TBR  23  19   ---   +21
NYY  22  19   0.5   +12
BAL  18  20   3.0   + 5
BOS  19  22   3.5   -35
TOR  19  24   4.5   +16
Boston's expected record based on that negative differential is 16-25.


Andrew McCutchen's Pay Stub

A friend sent this to me at work. I see that it's being discussed at Deadspin.

In May, Crooked Numbers Are Very Rare

How pathetic has the Red Sox's offense been in the month of May?

In 19 games this month, the team is batting .218/.286/.351.

They have scored 17 runs in their last nine games (an average of 1.89 runs/game). By some miracle, they have actually won four of those games.

How about this? In 171 innings, they have scored more than 1 run only seven times.

They have scored more than 2 runs in an innings only twice.
0501 - 001 100 000    - 2
0502 - 000 100 100    - 2
0503 - 000 005 000    - 5
0504 - 010 000 000    - 1
0505 - 000 001 01x    - 2
0506 - 002 000 010    - 3
0508 - 000 000 000    - 0
0509 - 000 010 000    - 1
0510 - 400 020 000    - 6
0511 - 000 110 200 01 - 5
0512 - 000 001 100    - 2
0513 - 010 000 010    - 2
0514 - 000 100 001    - 2
0515 - 001 000 000    - 1
0516 - 011 002 000    - 4
0517 - 000 000 000    - 0
0519 - 100 120 00x    - 4
0520 - 000 010 000    - 1
0521 - 000 100 000    - 1
Overall, the Red Sox are batting .234 with men on base, which is actually better than their .232 mark with the bases empty.

With runners on second and/or third, the team's average drops to .199.

May 21, 2015

G41: Rangers 3, Red Sox 1

Rangers - 200 100 000 - 3  7  0
Red Sox - 000 100 000 - 1  6  2
It was around the end of seventh inning when Maxwell Horse posted to the game thread: "It's absolutely insane that a two run deficit feels insurmountable."

I whole-heartedly agree, and yet ... the Red Sox have scored only 17 runs in their last nine games. When a team averages 1.89 runs per nine innings, a two-run lead is insurmountable.

It turned out that Texas scored all the runs it would need against Clay Buchholz (7.1-5-3-2-4, 106) in the first inning. Shin-Soo Choo lined a single to right and Delino DeShields bunted his way aboard. Both runners advanced on Prince Fielder's fly to deep right and Adrian Beltre walked, loading the bases. Mitch Moreland grounded to Dustin Pedroia, whose throw to Xander Bogaerts at second base was off-target. Bogaerts stretched and kept his foot on the bag to record the out, but dropped the ball - and two runs scored.

Moreland (3-for-4) homered in the fourth, giving the Rangers a 3-0 lead. The Red Sox came back quickly with one run in their half of the inning. Mookie Betts beat out an infield single and raced to third on Pedroia's double to left. David Ortiz swung at the first pitch and grounded out, but Betts scored. Pedroia then took off when Hanley Ramirez squibbed the ball in front of the plate - and was easily tagged out 1-2.

From there, whenever Boston got a man on base, they were unable to do anything further.

5th: Bogaerts walked with one out. Daniel Nava then singled to right-center, but the ball hit Bogaerts's foot on its way through the infield - and he was called out. Sandy Leon fanned, ending the inning.

6th: Betts, Pedroia, and Ortiz all grounded out to shortstop Elvis Andrus.

7th: Brock Holt worked a 10-pitch walk with two outs. Keone Kela then relieved Wandy Rodriguez (6.2-4-1-2-5, 112). Bogaerts lined a hard single to right. Nava - batting .175 and slugging .211 - struck out on three pitches.

8th: Pablo Sandoval pinch-hit for Leon and despite being the team's best hitter against RHP (.365), he struck out. Betts flied to right and Pedroia was called out on strikes.

9th: Facing Shawn Tolleson, Ortiz doubled to left-center. It was a great beginning, but the game ended with him still standing on second. Ramirez popped to short center. Napoli struck out, chasing a slider low and away. Holt also chased two pitches out of the strike zone, missing them both. After two balls, he was called out on a pitch on the outside black.
Example
Wandy Rodriguez / Clay Buchholz
Betts, CF
Pedroia, 2B
Ortiz, DH
Ramirez, LF
Napoli, 1B
Victorino, RF
Holt, 3B
Bogaerts, SS
Leon, C
Runs scored by the Red Sox in their last eight games: 2, 2, 2, 1, 4, 0, 4, 1.

Nevertheless, Alex Speier offers some silver linings about the team's frustrating lack of production.

Also: Marvin Hudson is a colossal asshole.

May 20, 2015

G40: Rangers 2, Red Sox 1

Rangers - 011 000 000 - 2  8  1
Red Sox - 000 010 000 - 1  9  1
Another frustrating game in which the Red Sox fail to hit with men on base.

In the sixth, trailing by one run, Boston loaded the bases with one out. But Brock Holt struck out and Xander Bogaerts, who hit a tremendous home run in the fifth, lined to center.

In the seventh, Mookie Betts was on second with one out. But Dustin Pedroia flied to short right and after David Ortiz was walked intentionally, Hanley Ramirez lined to second.

In the eighth, with a man on first and one out, Holt grounded into a fielder's choice and Bogaerts struck out.

In the ninth, Betts hustled his way to a one-out double. It was a repeat of the seventh. Pedroia lined to left and after an intentional walk to Ortiz, Ramirez grounded to second.

The Red Sox were 1-for-8 with RATS and left 12 men on base (eight left on in the final four innings).
Example
Phil Klein / Joe Kelly
Betts, CF
Pedroia, 2B
Ortiz, DH
Ramirez, LF
Napoli, 1B
Nava, RF
Holt, 3B
Bogaerts, SS
Swihart, C

May 19, 2015

G39: Red Sox 4, Rangers 3

Rangers - 000 002 001 - 3  9  0
Red Sox - 100 120 00x - 4 13  1
Wade Miley (7-7-2-1-7, 105) tossed seven solid innings and David Ortiz and Mike Napoli each homered and drove in two runs.

The Red Sox hit Gallardo (5-10-4-0-2, 102) hard right away. With one out, Dustin Pedroia doubled off the base of the Wall; after four pitches away resulted in a 2-2 count, Gallardo mistakenly came inside on FY and he nailed the first of two doubles. Ortiz followed with a hard grounder into right for an RBI single. Hanley Ramirez (3-for-5) and Pablo Sandoval each singled and Boston had the bases loaded with one out. Unfortunately, Napoli struck out and Daniel Nava grounded out to short.

Boston increased their lead in the middle inning. Napoli began the fourth with a line drive home run to left. Ortiz cracked a one-out dong to right-center in the sixth before Ramirez doubled and scored on Napoli's single. The Red Sox led 4-0.

Although Miley dealt with runners in five of his seven innings - Texas got a man to second in each of the first four innings - his only real trouble came in the sixth, when Kyle Blanks doubled with one out and scored on Thomas Field's two-out single. Hanley Ramirez fielded the ball in left and seemed surprised to see Blanks rounding third; his throw to the plate was, therefore, too late. Robinson Chirinos then lifted a fly ball out near the short wall in the right field corner. Nava couldn't catch it and Chirinos legged out a run-scoring triple.

The Red Sox tried grabbing some insurance in the seventh and eighth, but did nothing more than leave five men on base. In the seventh, facing lefty Sam Freeman, Ramirez doubled and Sandoval was drilled in the left knee with a pitch (he had to leave the game). Shane Victorino walked against Neftali Feliz to load the bases, but Bogaerts grounded back to the mound. In the eighth, Pedroia doubled high off the Wall and Ortiz was intentionally walked, but Ramirez hit into an inning-ending fielder's choice.

Leonys Martin, pinch-hitting in the top of the ninth, homered off Koji Uehara to cut the lead to 4-3. After Koji got the next two hitters, Shin-Soo Choo reached on an infield single. Elvis Andrus flied to right and the win was secured.

In Washington, Andrew Miller gave up a two-run homer to Ryan Zimmerman in the bottom of the tenth, so the Red Sox gained a game on the Yankees (losers of six of their last seven games and now tied with the Rays for first place). Boston is now 2.5 GB, in third.
Example
Yovani Gallardo / Wade Miller
Betts, CF
Pedroia, 2B
Ortiz, DH
Ramirez, LF
Sandoval, 3B
Napoli, 1B
Nava, RF
Bogaerts, SS
Swihart, C
Nineteen-year-old Yoan Moncada made his professional debut last night, playing for the Greenville Drive. He went 0-for-3: grounding out twice, reaching on an error, walking, and scoring two runs.

May 17, 2015

G38: Mariners 5, Red Sox 0

Red Sox  - 000 000 000 - 0  5  0
Mariners - 020 010 02x - 5  8  0

Looking through the play-by-play for the Red Sox's baserunners,
1st: Dustin Pedroia walks with two outs, but Hanley Ramirez grounds to third.

3rd: Blake Swihart and Shane Victorino both single, but Pedroia strands them on first and third.

5th: Brock Holt singles with one down, but Swihart grounds into a double play.

6th: Victorino walks with one out, and Pedroia and Ramirez come up empty.

7th: With two outs, Xander Bogaerts singles and goes to third on Holt's double. Swihart grounds out to shortstop.
Boston went down in order in the eighth and ninth innings.

The Red Sox (18-20, 3.5 GB) are off tomorrow before beginning a six-game homestand on Tuesday (three games against both the Rangers and Angels).
Example
Steven Wright / James Paxton
Betts, CF
Victorino, RF
Pedroia, 2B
Ramirez, DH
Napoli, 1B
Sandoval, 3B
Bogaerts, SS
Holt, LF
Swihart, C

May 16, 2015

G37: Red Sox 4, Mariners 2

Red Sox  - 011 002 000 - 4  8  0
Mariners - 100 010 000 - 2  5  0
After Felix Hernandez had walked both Xander Bogaerts and Daniel Nava with one out in the sixth inning, Blake Swihart jumped on the first pitch he saw and rapped a double to the gap in left center. Bogaerts scored, snapping a 2-2 tie. After yet another walk (to Jackie Bradley) loaded the bases, Brock Holt brought home another run with a groundout.

Tonight's game was only the fifth time in 15 games this month that the Red Sox scored more than two runs. With such a low level of run production - the team began the night with a May batting average of .207 - it's a wonder the team is 6-9 in this month.

Before that rally, the scoring came via solo home runs. Brad Miller went deep on Rick Porcello's (6.2-5-2-2-6, 105) eighth pitch of the night, giving Seattle an early lead. But Boston answered quickly, as Pablo Sandoval nailed Hernandez's (6-7-4-4-5, 101) first offering of the second inning over the fence in center. David Ortiz lined a dong to right-center in the third and Miller went deep for the second time in the fifth.

Porcello pitched well, although he did not retire the Mariners in order in any inning. He stranded men at second and third in the fourth inning, after a two-out ground rule double by Dustin Ackley meant that Kyle Seager had to stop at third base.

Porcello began the seventh inning at 96 pitches - and retired Seattle's 8-9 hitters on ground balls to short. Tommy Layne struck out Seth Smith to end the inning. Layne also got the first two batters in the eighth before Junichi Tazawa came in to face Nelson Cruz. Tonight's at-bat went better than last night's as Cruz popped to Bogaerts.

Koji Uehara pitched the ninth, getting Seager on a high fly to right, striking out Logan Morrison, and retiring Ackley on a grounder to first.

Boston (18-19) will try to get back to .500 tomorrow afternoon for the first time since May 2.
Example
Rick Porcello / Felix Hernandez
Holt, RF
Pedroia, 2B
Ortiz, DH
Ramirez, LF
Sandoval, 3B
Bogaerts, SS
Nava, 1B
Swihart, C
Bradley, CF
WEEI has some stats from Hernandez's impressive start to the season:
King Felix leads the American League with a 6-0 record and is third among AL starters with a 1.85 ERA, first with a 0.84 WHIP, fourth with a .192 batting average against, and fifth with 50 strikeouts. He has walked just eight batters. In his seven starts, Hernandez went fewer than 6.2 innings just once and has gone at least seven innings in five of his outings.
Over his last five starts, opponents are batting .178/.221/.271 against Hernandez.

Only a couple of Red Sox batters have done well against Hernandez: David Ortiz: .361/.455/.500 (13-for-36) with one home run. Dustin Pedroia: .302/.362/.395 in 47 PA.

In his last three starts (19 innings), Porcello has allowed only four runs.

May 15, 2015

G36: Mariners 2, Red Sox 1

Red Sox  - 010 000 000 - 1  7  0
Mariners - 000 001 001 - 2  5  0
Clay Buchholz was superb (8-3-1-0-11, 102), striking out a season-high of 11, but Nelson Cruz's two-out single in the bottom of the ninth won the game for the home team.

Manager John Farrell called on lefty Tommy Layne to begin the ninth inning. After getting pinch-hitter Willie Bloomquist on a grounder to shortstop (Mike Napoli made a nice pick at first of a low throw), Layne gave up an infield single to the shortstop hole. Xander Bogaerts made a play, but Miller easily beat the off-balance throw. Robinson Cano grounded out to Napoli, who looked at second before flipping the ball to Layne, who danced backwards before finding the bag for the out. Junichi Tazawa came in and went to a full count on Cruz before surrendering the game-winning single to left. The Boston outfielders were playing in, and Hanley Ramirez had no shot at making a catch.

Farrell said after the game that he made a "terrible decision" in pitching to Cruz with first base open.

The Red Sox scored first when Shane Victorino dropped a single into short right field, stole second, and scored on Bogaerts's triple off the wall in left-center. Seattle's leadoff hitter, Seth Smith, belted a solo home run in the sixth for the Mariners' first run.

In the game's final five innings, the Red Sox managed to advance only one runner past first base. That came in the eighth when Bogaerts singled and was bunted to second by Sandy Leon. He died there, however, as Mookie Betts popped to first and Dustin Pedroia grounded to short. David Ortiz opened the ninth with a hit, but Ramirez flied to deep right, Napoli struck out, and Victorino flied to center.

Buchholz deserved a better fate. He gave up a two-out double to Cano in the first inning - and then retired the next 15 batters. That streak was snapped with two outs in the sixth when Smith went deep. Buchholz struck out the side in both the sixth and seventh innings.

All five AL East teams lost tonight - the Yankees were pelted by the Royals 12-1 - so Boston remains 3.5 GB.
Example
Clay Buchholz / J.A. Happ
Betts, CF
Pedroia, 2B
Ortiz, DH
Ramirez, LF
Napoli, 1B
Victorino, RF
Sandoval, 3B
Bogaerts SS
Leon, C
Gordon Edes, ESPNBoston:
For those of you who have been staying up late this week, a definite difference in how the Sox have been playing. The W's only part of story
Sounds good. The Red Sox have won four of their last five games are now 17-18, 3.5 GB the Yankees, who have lost three straight. It's Boston's smallest deficit since May 2.

Pedro, 2000

Deadspin: Camden Yards Workers Screwed Over Yet Again

Dave McKenna, Deadspin:
The other day, the Baltimore Orioles got lots of positive press by announcing that stadium staffers would be compensated for wages lost while a state of emergency was declared in the city. Two home games were canceled, another was played at an empty Camden Yards, and three others were moved to Tampa Bay as anger over the killing of Freddie Gray reigned.

"Due to the extraordinary circumstances that led to several canceled or rescheduled games," read Tuesday's memo from management, "the Orioles organization will compensate all hourly employees for hours that would have been ordinarily worked the week of April 27." ...

However, the O's graciousness doesn't actually cover all hourly stadium workers. Not even close. ...

As it turns out, only stadium workers directly on the team's payroll will get make-up money. That group includes ushers, ticket sellers, and security screeners. Orioles spokesperson Kristen Hudak declined to provide any stats related to the number of employees that fall in this category, but it's a fraction of the labor force that was put out by the tumult that consumed Baltimore. All food, booze and merchandise vendors, for example, are technically employed by a contractor, Delaware North, and are therefore not eligible for the recompense offered by the O's for the disappeared games.

The cleaning crew was also spared the team's generosity. The janitorial workers are officially employed by Chimes Inc., a Baltimore-based non-profit that describes itself as a place that "provides training and employment opportunities for people with severe disabilities." ...

[Peter] Angelos had a sturdy pro-labor reputation when he took over as owner in 1993. ...

But his treatment of the stadium cleanup crews a decade ago put that image to shame. Angelos was using mostly homeless men to do the work at the time. Some were paid hourly, some were paid a flat $30 fee no matter how long the job took. ... In 2005, one of the homeless workers, James Riddick, told me supervisors routinely docked two hours pay from any hourly member of the cleanup crew caught taking a bathroom break. ...

May 14, 2015

G35: Red Sox 2, Mariners 1

Red Sox  - 000 100 001 - 2 10  0
Mariners - 000 001 000 - 1  7  1
Example
Joe Kelly / Roenis Elias
Betts, CF
Pedroia, 2B
Ortiz, DH
Ramirez, LF
Napoli, 1B
Victorino, RF
Holt, 3B
Bogaerts, SS
Swihart, C
Justin Masterson was placed on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder tendinitis. Reliever Robbie Ross Jr. was recalled from Pawtucket.

May 13, 2015

G34: Red Sox 2, Athletics 0

Red Sox   - 010 000 010 - 2  6  0
Athletics - 000 000 000 - 0  5  1
Wade Miley / Sonny Gray
Betts, CF
Pedroia, 2B
Ortiz, DH
Ramirez, LF
Sandoval, 3B
Holt, SS
Nava, 1B
Bradley, RF
Leon, C
Example

May 12, 2015

G33: Athletics 9, Red Sox 2

Red Sox   - 000 001 100 - 2  4  0
Athletics - 313 100 01x - 9 12  1
Justin Masterson / Drew Pomeranz
Betts, CF
Pedroia, 2B
Ortiz, DH
Ramirez, LF
Napoli, 1B
Sandoval, 3B
Victorino, RF
Bogaerts, SS
Swihart, C
Example

May 11, 2015

G32: Red Sox 5, Athletics 4 (11)

Red Sox   - 000 110 200 01 - 5 10  0
Athletics - 001 110 100 00 - 4 13  1
Pablo Sandoval led off the 11th inning with his fourth home run of the year.

Mookie Betts, David Ortiz, Xander Bogaerts and Blake Swihart each had two hits. ... Betts had two RBIs. ... Swihart scored two runs.
Example
Rick Porcello / Scott Kazmir
Betts, CF
Pedroia, 2B
Ortiz, DH
Ramirez, LF
Napoli, 1B
Sandoval, 3B
Victorino, RF
Bogaerts, SS
Swihart, C

May 10, 2015

Linescores: Scoring Runs Equal To The Inning Number

I look for lots of things in linescores, including teams that score an amount of runs equal to the inning of the game, i.e., one in the first, two in the second, three in the third, four in the fourth, etc.

I have no idea what the record is, but it has to be more than three, as that particular feat was accomplished on consecutive days this month.
May 1, 2015
Rockies  - 000 011 001 -  3  6  4
Padres   - 100 410 08x - 14 14  0
  
May 2, 2015
Mariners - 030 001 000 -  4  7  3
Astros   - 023 401 10x - 11 14  0

G31: Red Sox 6, Blue Jays 3

Red Sox   - 400 020 000 - 6  7  0
Blue Jays - 000 110 100 - 3  8  0
The Red Sox had scored only seven runs in their last five games. They scored nearly that many in the first five innings this afternoon. Gordon Edes noted that this was only the seventh time in 31 games that the team had scored in the first inning.

Red Sox 1st: R.A. Dickey goes to a full count on Mookie Betts, who sends a missile to the gap in right-center. Kevin Pillar races after it and dives, appearing to make a phenomenal catch, but the ball comes loose when he hits the ground. Betts slides into third with a triple - and quickly scores when Dustin Pedroia grounds to shortstop. David Ortiz walks on four pitches and is forced at second by Hanley Ramirez. Pablo Sandoval doubles into the right-field corner and Mike Napoli belts a three-run homer to left-center, giving Boston a 4-0 lead. Xander Bogaerts ends the fun with a pop-up to shortstop.

Blue Jays 1st: To my memory, Clay Buchholz has been absolutely horrible in innings following Red Sox runs. He begins by walking Devon Travis. Josh Donaldson grounds to third and Sandoval starts a double play, with Napoli making a nice back-handed pick at first. With two outs, Buchholz walks Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion on five pitches each. NESN, naturally, shows new pitching coach Carl Willis on the bench. Kevin Pillar grounds an 0-1 pitch to third and Sandoval steps on the bag for the third out.

Red Sox 2nd: Jackie Bradley, back with the big club and making his season debut, grounds to first. Sandy Leon - making his first start since last Monday - lines a single to right. Betts forces Leon at second and beats the relay to first. Pedroia singles to right-center and Betts goes to third. Ortiz looks at two balls and then grounds into the shift, with shortstop Ryan Goins throwing him out.

Blue Jays 2nd: Chris Colabello singles to right; he's now 8-for-15 this season. Ezequiel Carrera strikes out looking and Josh Thole grounds into a 4-6-3 double play.

Red Sox 3rd: With two outs, Napoli walks, but Bogaerts lines to right.

Blue Jays 3rd: Buchholz needs only eight pitches to retire the Jays' 9-1-2 hitters on three groundballs.

Red Sox 4th: Dickey gets Bradley, Leon and Betts in order.

Blue Jays 4th: After Bautista taps weakly back to the mound, Encarnacion singles to center. Pillar grounds to second, Pedroia diving to his left and throwing from his knees. Encarnacion advances to second on that play and he scores on Colabello's single to center. Buchholz gets Carrera on a grounder to Pedroia. 59 pitches through 4.

Red Sox 5th: With two outs, Ramirez singles to left and Sandoval cranks a first-pitch inside knuckleball over the fence in right-center for a two-run dong. Napoli walks, but Bogaerts pops out.

Blue Jays 5th: Travis hits a two-out double to right. Donaldson also doubles, this one one-hopping the wall in left-center. Travis scores and it's 6-2. Bautista grounds to shortstop.

Red Sox 6th: Bradley pops to short. Leon fouls out to third. Betts flies to short right.

Blue Jays 6th: Encarnacion flies to Betts in right-center. Buchholz strikes out Pillar on three pitches. Colabello singles to right as Bradley races in and scoops/traps the ball. Colabello is now 3-for-3 and batting .588 (10-for-17). Not to worry, says Buchholz, as he gets Carrera on a high chopper back to the mound. Excellent work to put up a bagel after Toronto had scored in the previous two innings.

Red Sox 7th: Right-hander Ryan Tepera - making his major league debut - relieves Dickey (6-7-6-3-0, 103) and needs only seven pitches to set down Boston's 2-3-4 hitters. Pedroia flies to center, Ortiz fouls out to first, and Ramirez grounds to third.

Blue Jays 7th: Thole's pop-up along the right field line falls in and Bradley misplays it a bit for a double. The race is on: Can the Red Sox get nine outs before the Jays score four runs? Buchholz is wild in pitching to Goins, who helps him out by swinging at a couple of pitches out of the zone. Goins eventually grounds out to second as Thome goes to third. That's Buchholz's (6.1-7-3-3-3, 102) last batter as John Farrell signals for Junichi Tazawa to face the top of Toronto's order. Travis grounds out to short - and the run scores. 6-3. Tazawa falls behind 3-1 to Donaldson, but he flies out to the warning track in right.

Red Sox 8th: Tepera remains in the game. Sandoval grounds to second. Napoli strikes out swinging. Bogaerts flies to right. 6 up, 6 down on 19 pitches. Nice debut.

Blue Jays 8th: Tazawa starts the inning and Bautista lines a single to left. Encarnacion grounds into a double play. Pillar ends the inning by fouling out to Napoli.

Red Sox 9th: Brett Cecil is pitching. Bradley strikes out, ending an eight-pitch at-bat. Leon grounds out first-to-pitcher. Betts walks - and is picked off.

Blue Jays 9th: Koji Uehara relieves Tazawa. Colabello swings and misses three straight pitches. Danny Valencis pich-hits for Carrera. He looks at two strikes before grounding to third. Thole walks. Justin Smoak bats for Goins. He grounds into the shift and Bogaerts, playing where the second baseman might usually be, throws him out.

On to Oakland!
Example
Clay Buchholz / R.A. Dickey
Betts, CF
Pedroia, 2B
Ortiz, DH
Ramirez, LF
Sandoval, 3B
Napoli, 1B
Bogaerts, SS
Bradley, RF
Leon, C
Roster moves: Jackie Bradley and Steven Wright have been called up from Pawtucket and Allen Craig (.135/.237/.192) and Robbie Ross were sent down.

Also, Edward Mujica was traded to the Oakland A's. So, of course, he'll be lights-out against us next week.

May 9, 2015

G30: Blue Jays 7, Red Sox 1

Red Sox   - 000 010 000 - 1  8  2
Blue Jays - 110 301 10x - 7  9  1
Different day, same ineffective pitching/hitting.

Joe Kelly (5.2-4-6-7-3, 113) was horrible right out of the gate. He walked three men in the first inning, allowed a single, committed a throwing error, and yet by leaving the bases loaded, he escaped with allowing only one run. Boston has been outscored in the first inning this season 24-9 - a big reason it always feels like the team is trailing.

Toronto's second inning was pretty much a repeat of the first, with a single, two walks, another Kelly error (this time interfering with a runner on his way to first); again, Toronto left the sacks full having scored only one run. Kelly threw 65 pitches in the two innings.

Kelly had a quick, seven-pitch third inning - giving fans the hope that he might have settled down - he issued two more walks in the fourth, along with surrendering a mammoth three-run bomb to Edwin Encarnacion. Jays 5-0.

The Red Sox collected eight hits, but still could not capitalize with men on base. Xander Bogaerts and Mookie Betts singled in the third, but, with one out, Dustin Pedroia fanned on a pitch in the dirt and David Ortiz flied to short left. In the fourth, Boston had runners at second and third and one out. Nothing happened as Allen Craig hit a soft liner to shortstop and Bogaerts grounded out.

The Red Sox actually scored in the fifth, but again, it could have been a more productive inning. With one out, Betts doubled. Pedroia singled to right, scoring Betts. Ortiz sliced a single to left and Pedroia stopped at second. Hanley Ramirez flied to right and, after Pablo Sandoval walked to load the bases, Napoli (as the potential tying run) also flied to right.

After the game, manager John Farrell hinted that a roster shakeup may be coming.
Example
Joe Kelly / Drew Hutchison
Betts, CF
Pedroia, 2B
Ortiz, DH
Ramirez, LF
Sandoval, 3B
Napoli, 1B
Craig, RF
Bogaerts, SS
Swihart, C
The Red Sox have hired Carl Willis as their pitching coach. Willis, who had been working with the Columbus Clippers, Cleveland's AAA team, previously worked with Cleveland (2003-09) and Seattle (2010-13).

From Elias: Boston is 4-for-52 with men in scoring position over its last seven games, after suffering through a 4-for-51 stretch over seven games in mid-April and a 4-for-57 rut in seven games last August. Before last year, the Red Sox hadn't had a stretch of seven games in which they had 50 at-bats with men in scoring position but fewer than four hits since 1999, and before that, 1966.

May 8, 2015

G29: Blue Jays 7, Red Sox 0

Red Sox   - 000 000 000 - 0  2  0
Blue Jays - 110 002 03x - 7 12  1
Two hits.

Two groundball singles to left field - one by Dustin Pedroia in the first inning and one from Mookie Betts in the eighth.

You are not going to win many baseball games when you manage only two hits. Looking at Baseball Reference's Play Index, the win-loss record of teams with only two hits in a game:
2013: 3-63, .045
2014: 3-49, .058
2015: 1- 9, .100
That's 7-121 (.058) dating back to the beginning of 2013. (And you can make that 1-10 in 2015.)

Meanwhile, the Blue Jays had little trouble scoring runs. Josh Donaldson homered in the first and Chris Colabello went deep in the second.

Wade Miley (6-8-4-1-8, 104) kept the lid on Toronto's lineup for three innings, but the home team bust through in the sixth. Edwin Encarnacion walked and Russell Martin and Danny Valencia followed with singles. That brought in one run and Kevin Pillar's sac fly to right made it 4-0. Valencia was tagged out when he tried to advance to second on Pillar's fly. First baseman Travis Shaw, making his major league debut, cut off Daniel Nava's throw from the outfield and fired to Xander Bogaerts at second. Valencia was actually safe, but then he did a stutter step and came off the bag and was tagged out.

The Jays salted away the game in the eighth against Robbie Ross. Jose Bautista tripled on a deep fly to left-centre that hit off the top of the wall. Encarnacion singled him home. Martin stroked a ground-rule double to left, and he and Encarnacion both scored on Ezequiel Carrera's opposite field single to left.

Even with the two measly hits, Boston had chances to score off Aaron Sanchez (7-2-0-5-3, 108). After his hit, Pedroia was wiped out on a double play in the first. Nava walked in the second, but was stranded at second. And an infield error and another walk in the third simply meant that the Red Sox could leave two men on base.

Boston loaded the bases with no outs in the fourth, as Mike Napoli and Nava both walked and Allen Craig was hit by a pitch. Trailing 2-0 at the time, it was a golden opportunity to at least tie the game. But Blake Swihart struck out looking on a full-count pitch and Xander Bogaerts grounded into a double play.

Even down by four in the eighth, when Shaw walked and Betts singled, there was a glimmer of hope. But Aaron Loup came in from the bullpen and snuffed out any and all hope. Pedroia fouled to first and Pablo Sandoval and Napoli both struck out. Minutes later, the Jays were padding their already ample lead.

The Red Sox have scored only 15 runs in their last seven games (2, 2, 5, 1, 2, 3, 0).
Example
Wade Miley / Aaron Sanchez
Betts, CF
Pedroia, 2B
Sandoval, 3B
Napoli, DH
Nava, RF
Craig, LF
Swihart, C
Bogaerts, SS
Shaw, 1B
David Ortiz lost the appeal of his one-game suspension and will sit out tonight's game at Skydome. Ortiz was suspended for bumping an umpire on April 19. ... Travis Shaw has been called up from Pawtucket and will make his MLB debut at first base.

Over its last six games (May 1-6), Boston has scored only 15 runs and is batting .214.
      W   L   GB  DIFF
NYY  18  11  ---  +29
TBR  15  14  3.0    0
TOR  14  15  4.0  + 9
BOS  13  15  4.5  -16
BAL  12  14  4.5  + 6
That lineup is pretty damn weak, so we'll probably score 15.

May 7, 2015

Red Sox Fire Pitching Coach Juan Nieves

The Red Sox have fired pitching coach Juan Nieves. GM Ben Cherington said the team needed a "different voice".

The Red Sox's pitching staff has a 4.86 ERA, the highest in the American League and 29th worst in MLB. ... The starters' ERA is 5.54.

A replacement has not been named.

Reading through the SoSH thread, many media members are seeing Nieves as a scapegoat.
Ken Rosenthal ‏@Ken_Rosenthal
#RedSox announce firing of pitching coach Juan Nieves. Suggestion: Find better pitchers.

Pete Abraham ‏@PeteAbe
#RedSox fired pitching coach Juan Nieves, team announces. There’s one fall guy.

Jason Mastrodonato ‏@JMastrodonato
Juan Nieves, the fall guy? Red Sox have fired their pitching coach.

Dan Sostek ‏@dan_sostek
Scapegoating Juan Nieves for the staff's issues is pretty ridiculous. You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig.

Maureen Mullen ‏@MaureenaMullen
Can't fire a pitching staff so Red Sox fire pitching coach Juan Nieves instead.
Earlier this week, on May 3, Ryan Hannable ‏tweeted:
Farrell indicated he's maybe done more 1-on-1 work with the pitchers than he's done in the past given the early season struggles.

Mujica Designated For Assignment

The Red Sox have designated reliever Edward Mujica for assignment. Mujica had a 4.61 ERA in 13.2 innings over 11 appearances this year. Opponents were hitting .294/.345/.490 against him.

Alex Speier of the Globe notes that the move coincides with Wednesday's decision to move Matt Barnes to Pawtucket's bullpen and "suggests the Sox may be laying the groundwork to add him as a potential swing-and-miss power arm to their late-innings mix".

Speier adds: "Sox starters are now in their sixth turn through the rotation, while many of the relievers have gotten beyond 10 appearances and innings. Concerns about stuff are turning into red flags that suggest that the time for roster complacency is nearing its end."
Example
The Red Sox are batting .209 with RATS (i.e., RISP), the worst average in the American League and the 28th worst in baseball. Their .287 OBP is 29th in MLB. Dustin Pedroia says that will soon change.
It's 28 games over 162, that shit will change. Yeah, yeah. You guys look at one-game seasons. We look at 162. The guys who are shit right now with runners in scoring position, that shit will change. Fact. So there's your answer. Thanks.

May 6, 2015

G28: Rays 5, Red Sox 3

Rays    - 001 120 001 - 5  9  2
Red Sox - 002 000 010 - 3  7  0
Yet another long night at the ball park (3:22), with a poor performance from a Red Sox starting pitcher and the lineup's frustrating inability to hit with men on base. Tonight's ineffective starter was Justin Masterson (4.1-7-4-6-1, 96) and the team went 1-for-12 with RATS. They left the bases loaded in the eighth and batted twice in the ninth, without success, with the potential winning run at the plate.

After the Rays took a 1-0 lead, Boston quickly rallied, giving fans the impression that the Mookie momentum from last night might have carried over. Xander Bogaerts doubled to the gap in left center. Blake Swihart lined a double to the exact same spot, and the game was tied. Dustin Pedroia's fly to center scored Swihart, giving the Sox a 2-1 lead.

But Masterson gave the lead away immediately, as Evan Longoria began the third with a solo home run. Masterson allowed a double to David DeJesus and walked two batters, but retired Kevin Kiermasier on a fly to Betts, leaving three Rays on base. Masterson walked two more batters in the fifth and Tampa Bay had the sacks full with one out. Joey Butler dumped a two-run single into center - and, with the score 4-2, that was the end of Masterson's dismal night.

The Red Sox had a runner on third base with two outs in both the fourth and sixth innings, but could not bring the man home.

Mookie Betts popped a solo home run off Kevin Jepsen to start the bottom of the eighth, cutting the lead to 4-3. After Pedroia grounded out, David Ortiz walked. Mike Napoli should have been called out on strikes - twice! - but home plate umpire Mark Carlson kept calling balls and so Napoli ended up lining a single to left field that Butler dove for, but could not hold onto. Manager John Farrell then pulled Ortiz and put the recently-acquired Luis Jimenez in at second as a pinch-runner. Pablo Sandoval walked, loading the bases with one out. Daniel Nava batted for Allen Craig and grounded to first. James Loney threw home and Jimenez was forced at the plate. Brock Holt grounded to first unassisted, ending the inning.

Longoria hit another solo home run in the ninth, off Alexi Ogando, to give the Rays a two-run cushion.

In the ninth, facing Brad Boxberger, Bogaerts reached on an infield single and took second on a wild pitch. Swihart fouled out to catcher Rene Rivera for the first out. Betts hit a few hard foul balls to left, and ended up working a seven-pitch walk. Pedroia struck out, leaving the game in the hands of Jimenez (.218/.255/.269 lifetime), who had run for Ortiz. On a 1-1 pitch, Jimenez dribbled a little grounder in front of the plate and Rivera threw him out with ease.

The loss dropped the Red Sox (13-15) back into the East basement.
Example
Alex Colome / Justin Masterson
Betts, CF
Pedroia, 2B
Ortiz, DH
Napoli, 1B
Sandoval, 3B
Craig, LF
Holt, RF
Bogaerts, SS
Swihart, C

100 Years Ago Today: Babe Ruth's 1st Home Run

Rachel G. Bowers, Globe:
The day Babe Ruth hit his first major league home run, he also pitched 12.1 innings.

It was May 6, 1915 — 100 years ago today — in a 4-3, 13-inning loss to the Yankees at the Polo Grounds in New York. ...

Ruth's first three career home runs came against the Yankees. His second came again at the Polo Grounds in a 7-1 Red Sox win on June 2. His first home run at Fenway Park came 23 days later, on June 25 against the Yankees, in a 9-5 Boston victory.
Ray Cavanaugh, Post:
[Ruth] was the first batter in the top of the third inning. He turned on the first pitch he saw from Jack Warhop and belted it into Seat 26, Section 3 of the right-field grandstand.

It was his 18th official at-bat and fifth hit since his major league debut on July 11, 1914. His previous four hits consisted of three doubles and one single, according to the Society for American Baseball Research. ...

Wilmot E. Giffin, journalist for the New York Evening Journal, said of Ruth: "When he is not pitching, they can use him for an outfielder and pinch hitter. In these days of efficiency he is the ideal player."
Baseball Reference has the box score.

SoSH Q&A With Michael Silverman About "Pedro"


Michael Silverman - who wrote Pedro with Pedro Martinez - answered questions from Sons of Sam Horn posters.

Part of one answer:
Pedro and I spoke often in Boston during the summer of 2013, and I went down to the Dominican twice. One of those trips began with a couple of days with him in Miami. We went at his career pretty methodically, checking off all the high and low points along the way, and took many, many excursions off-topic when we thought it was a fruitful path. It usually was. I asked Pedro to be as descriptive as possible, using all five senses when he recalled events, so that I could re-tell them as best I could. He and I are pretty used to being together in an on-the-record capacity from when I covered him with the Herald, so it was easy for us to slip into that work environment and be productive. ... One night I arrived at his place [in the Dominican Republic] and there was Vladimir Guerrero on his patio, playing dominoes. No big deal. That man can throw down the tiles, let me tell you.
Example

Also: More Awesome Evidence Of The Mystical Genius Of Pedro Martinez

May 5, 2015

G27: Red Sox 2, Rays 0

Rays    - 000 000 000 - 0  8  1
Red Sox - 000 001 01x - 2  5  1
Mookie Betts hit two solo home runs and Rick Porcello (7-8-0-0-6, 102) threw seven shutout innings. The Red Sox snapped a four-game losing streak. Time of game: 2:26.

Betts's first home run - an 0-1 shot into the Monster seats leading off the sixth inning - ended Drew Smyly's bid for a no-hitter.

Through the first five innings, Boston did hit the ball hard. David Ortiz clubbed a ball deep into the triangle to begin the fourth inning that center fielder Kevin Kiermaier caught near the 420 sign; NESN erred by missing the catch completely, as viewers were shown the first ten rows of bleachers where it thought the ball was landing. Blake Swihart smoked a liner than shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera dove to his left to snare neat the dirt, ending the fifth inning.

Betts homered for the second time leading off the eighth, hammering reliever Ernesto Feieri's first pitch into the Monster seats in left-center. Betts is the youngest Red Sox player (22 years, 210 days) to hit two home runs in a game since Jim Rice did it in Game 1 of a July 2, 1975 doubleheader (he also hit two on April 18, 1975). As it happened, the Red Sox were honouring the '75 Sox tonight and the players wore 1975-style uniforms and caps.

It was the first time the Red Sox won a 2-0 game on a pair of solo home runs by the same player since June 23, 1940 (Jim Tabor was the dongman that day). ... Betts is also the youngest Red Sox leadoff hitter with a multi-homer game since Bobby Doerr went deep twice on August 1, 1939.

Betts also made a quick and strong throw from center to double off Evan Longoria at second base in the fourth inning.

Porcello pitched only one perfect inning (the 7th), but, as they say, he "scattered" eight hits. Tampa Bay put its leadoff batter on base in the first, second, and fourth innings - but no Rays baserunner got further than second during the entire game. Alexi Ogando pitched a 1-2-3 eighth and Koji Uehara had no trouble retiring the Rays in order in the ninth.
Example
Drew Smyly / Rick Porcello
Betts, CF
Pedroia, 2B
Ortiz, DH
Napoli, 1B
Sandoval, 3B
Craig, LF
Holt, RF
Bogaerts, SS
Swihart, C
Some interesting - though possibly pre-mature - thoughts from OTM's Ben Buchanan:
The Red Sox have needed fixing since Day 1. ...

The problem is that just about everyone that could miss seems to be missing right now, to say nothing of a good few whose performances were never in doubt. The Red Sox are 12-14 through 26 games of the season, and frankly, they're lucky to be that. With even the slightest defensive competence from their first few opponents, it's easy to imagine 10-16 or 9-17. ...

The Red Sox can't afford to put off the wholesale changes much longer. It's time to start pulling the triggers where they're available. That means Rusney Castillo in right field, and getting Jackie Bradley Jr. back in the mix if Hanley Ramirez is down. It means Eduardo Rodriguez in the rotation. It might well mean Allen Craig or Daniel Nava at first base just to see if one of them can get it going when given the opportunities that Mike Napoli has had. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow. But in a week, or two at most. The Red Sox can't afford to wait until the trade deadline, because they need to know if their parts are worth building around in the first place.
I find myself agreeing with commenter Toocoolfool:
I think the goal this year was to just "trend water" and be a .500ish team. The Redsox are trying to build a team for the long run. Its why they wont trade Betts, Swihart, Bogaerts or any blue chip prospects. Its why they gave Moncada and Castillo loads of money despite not even playing an inning in A ball. Its why they gave Porcello 20 mil, even if hes not a 20mil aav pitcher. They are valuing youth and are trying to build "The next great Redsox team" filled with players in their 20s capable of making the playoffs every year for a decade.
However, I also believe this is better than a .500 team.

Pedro Interviewed On WFAN, Dan Patrick

Barstools Sports has video of Pedro Martinez's interview with WFAN's Mike Francesa. ... Another link to yesterday's interview (and maybe a little more complete) is here.

Pedro talked with Dan Patrick today. ... Hardball Talk's Headline: "Four Men In A Hot Tub, Johnny Damon’s Naked Pull-Ups And Curt Leskanic’s Naked Monkey Walk".

Q: Most Team Hits With No Singles?

In last night's loss to the Rays, the Red Sox's first five hits were for extra-bases: three doubles and two triples. (In the sixth inning, the team had two singles.)

I wondered what was the most hits a team has had in a game without hitting a single.

Using Baseball Reference's awesome Play Index, I learned that the answer is nine.

On August 18, 1998, Atlanta had nine hits - all doubles - in an 8-4 win over the Giants.

The Red Sox's record is six, which they did on April 20, 1973, collecting four doubles and two home runs in a 3-2 loss to Cleveland.

Here is the complete list.

May 4, 2015

G26: Rays 5, Red Sox 1

Rays    - 220 000 100 - 5 11  0
Red Sox - 010 000 000 - 1  7  0
Tampa Bay roughed up Clay Buchholz in the early part of the game, putting three men on base in each of the first three innings. Joey Butler's two-run homer in the second gave the Rays an early 4-0 lead.

However, before the Rays scored any runs, Hanley Ramirez - the team's top hitter (.949 OPS) - suffered a left shoulder sprain and was taken out of the game. With two outs in the top of the first, James Loney lifted a fly towards the line in left. Ramirez sprinted over, snagged the ball on the run, took two steps, and crashed into the padded left field foul wall. The ball was jarred loose and Ramirez was in serious pain. The official scorer first charged Ramirez with an error, which was simply adding insult to injury. The Red Sox challenged the safe call, thinking that Ramirez had possession of the ball long enough to record an out. However, the original call was upheld. And the error was eventually changed to a double. Evan Longoria followed with a double and David DeJesus singled, giving the Rays a 2-0 lead.

Buchholz (6.1-9-5-2-7, 107) recorded the first two outs in both the first and third innings before allowing three baserunners. In the third, he managed to leave the bases loaded.

Boston scored its lone run on back-to-back two-out triples by Brock Holt and Xander Bogaerts. Both were hit into the right field corner and somewhat misplayed by Steven Sousa, Jr.

Mookie Betts doubled to start the third, but was stranded on third base. Holt doubled with two outs in the fourth and was left there when Bogaerts fanned. In the sixth, David Ortiz and Allen Craig (who replaced Ramirez) singled. That seemed promising, but Pablo Sandoval grounded into a first-pitch double play and Mike Napoli flied out.

With the loss - and the Blue Jays' 3-1 victory over the Yankees - the Red Sox tumbled into last place in the AL East. Boston has lost 11 of its last 16 games.
Example
Jake Odorizzi / Clay Buchholz
Betts, CF
Pedroia, 2B
Ortiz, DH
Ramirez, LF
Sandoval, 3B
Napoli, 1B
Holt, RF
Bogaerts, SS
Leon, C
The Red Sox (12-13, 4th place) host the Rays for three games before heading to Toronto and the west coast.

Boston has lost seven of its last 10 games, and 10 of its last 15 games.

May 3, 2015

G25: Yankees 8, Red Sox 5

Yankees - 203 003 000 - 8 14  1
Red Sox - 000 005 000 - 5  7  1
The Red Sox made some noise in the sixth inning, but for most of this game, their bats were once again quiet as they were swept by the Yankees. Boston loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the ninth on two walks and an infield error - and had David Ortiz at the plate as the potential winning run. Big Papi fell behind 0-2 against Andrew Miller, worked the count back to 2-2, and lined out to center.

Jacoby Ellsbury caught the game-ending fly ball. He also reached base six times - four singles, a walk, and a HBP - but the big hits came from three of his teammates. Mark Teixeira hit a two-run homer in the first, Brian McCann doubled home two runs in the third, and Brett Gardner hit a three-run blast into the visitors bullpen. Joe Kelly (4.2-9-5-0-3, 97) did not get out of the fifth inning.

Yankees starter Adam Warren (5.2-4-4-2-2, 100) retired the first two batters in the Boston sixth, but Dustin Pedroia lined a single to left. Ortiz doubled off the Wall and Pedroia scored. Hanley Ramirez was hit by a pitch (and seemed to think it was intentional). Pablo Sandoval - who had ended a potential rally in the fourth by grounding out on an 3-0 pitch - singled home a run. Esmil Rogers took over pitching duties for New York - and Mike Napoli greeted him with a three-run dong to left. Gardner appeared to think he had a chance at catching it, but it fell into the first row of Monster seats. Rogers then walked Daniel Nava and couldn't handle Xander Bogaerts's dribbler down the third base line. It didn't seem possible, but the Red Sox were bringing the potential tying run to the plate. It was Blake Swihart who had begun the frame by lining to left. This time, he struck out. (Boston had five of its seven hits in this inning.)

The Yankees left the bases loaded in both the eighth and ninth innings.

In the ninth, facing the lefty Miller, pinch-hitter Allen Craig walked. Miller struck out Bogaerts and Swihart, but battled Mookie Betts for nine pitches, before Betts walked. Pedroia's grounder was bobbled by Chase Headley and his throw was wide of first. That loaded the bases for Ortiz, but the man who has been the hero so many times in the past could not come through as the clock struck midnight.
Example
Adam Warren / Joe Kelly
Betts, CF
Pedroia, 2B
Ortiz, DH
Ramirez, LF
Sandoval, 3B
Napoli, 1B
Nava, RF
Bogaerts, SS
Swihart, C

May 2, 2015

G24: Yankees 4, Red Sox 2

Yankees - 001 020 001 - 4  9  0
Red Sox - 000 100 100 - 2  8  0
Brett Gardner probably should have been called out on strikes, ending the top of the fifth inning with the score still knotted at 1-1.

But home plate umpire Cory Blaser had called Wade Miley's first pitch - clearly within the strike zone - a ball. Miley's next two offerings were called strikes, so the count was 1-2. Gardner ended up lining a 2-2 pitch to left for a single, bringing in two runs, giving the Yankees a lead they never relinquished. It was a very frustrating loss and it dropped the Red Sox's record to 12-12.

New York began the fifth inning with Chase Headley's double into the left field corner. Gregorio Petit blooped a ball into center than fell in front of Mookie Betts. It looked like Betts might have a shot at catching it, so Headley had to stay at second. (So much for being in "scoring position"! Headley didn't even advance to third.) Didi Gregorius bunted the runners to second and third and Boston brought the infield in. Jacoby Ellsbury grounded to first and Mike Napoli held the runners and recorded the out. Then Miley appeared to have struck out Gardner, escaping the threat. However, the Yankees' left fielder lined a single to left, snapping the 1-1 tie.

Boston cut the gap to 3-2 in the seventh. With two outs, Blake Swihart walked and scored on Mookie Betts's double to left. However, Dustin Pedroia grounded out to short to end the inning.

In the eighth, Hanley Ramirez walked with one out, but Justin Wilson struck out Pablo Sandoval and Dellin Betances struck out Mike Napoli. Betances then struck out the side - Brock Holt, Xander Bogaerts, Swihart - in the bottom of the ninth.

Swihart, who saw 22 pitches in his first three plate appearances, got his first major league hit in the fifth. He hit a ground ball to the right side. Yankees second baseman Petit ranged far to his left, but was off-balance while fielding the ball on the outfield grass and did not throw accurately to first.

Pedroia hit his fifth home run in the fourth inning. ... Miley: 7-7-3-0-3, 102. ... David Ortiz and Sandoval each singled twice.
Example
Nathan Eovaldi / Wade Miley
Betts, CF
Pedroia, 2B
Ortiz, DH
Ramirez, LF
Sandoval, 3B
Napoli, 1B
Holt, RF
Bogaerts, SS
Swihart, C
Blake Swihart, #23, is making his major league debut. He began 2015 as Baseball America's #1 catching prospect.

WEEI: Swihart Will Be Called Up After Hanigan Fractures Right Knuckle

Ryan Hannable, WEEI:
After losing starter Christian Vazquez during spring training to Tommy John surgery, new starter Ryan Hanigan went down Friday night with a fractured knuckle with surgery likely being needed.

Manager John Farrell said he will be out a "substantial" amount of time.

A source tells WEEI.com's John Tomase, Blake Swihart will be the guy called up to replace Hanigan, which leaves Sandy Leon and Swihart as the Red Sox' catchers.
Swihart is hitting .338/.392/.382 for Pawtucket.

May 1, 2015

G23: Yankees 3, Red Sox 2

Yankees - 100 000 110 - 3  9  1
Red Sox - 001 100 000 - 2  8  0
Alex Rodriguez's 660th career home run - an eighth-inning, pinch-hit line drive on a 3-0 offering from Junichi Tazawa - landed in the Monster Seats and snapped a 2-2 tie. The homer tied A-Rod for fourth place on the all-time HR list, with Willie Mays. (Rodriguez is due a $6 million bonus from the Yankees for the Mays-tying blast.)

Boston tried to come back in the bottom of the inning, but came up short against Dellin Betances. Mike Napoli worked a one-out walk and Pablo Sandoval singled to left - the first hit by an opposing batter in the last 27 at-bats against Betances. Brock Holt pinch-hit for Allen Craig and struck out swinging. Xander Bogaerts also struck out swinging.

The Yankees took a quick lead in the first. Jacoby Ellsbury singled, went to second when Mark Teixeira walked, and scored on Carlos Beltran's double. Boston tied the game in the third when Bogaerts led off with a double and scored on Mookie Betts's fly ball to center.

Craig gave the Red Sox a lead when he hit his first home run of the season. That came wqith two outs in the fourth. Bogaerts then walked and Ryan Hanigan doubled to left, the hit being ruled a ground-rule double because of fan interference. Bogaerts stopped at third, and that's where he stayed as Betts made the final out.

Justin Masterson (6-6-2-3-2, 87) pitched well, but also worked a Houdini routine in several innings. New York left men on second and third in the first and fourth innings, and they left the bases loaded in the fifth. In each case, Masterson got an easy ground ball for the inning's third out.

Masterson walked the leadoff man in the seventh and reliever Tommy Layne, after getting two outs, allowed that runner to score. He hit Teixeira with a pitch (which also drove Hanigan from the game) and Brian McCann lined an RBI-single to left.

Rodriguez put New York ahead in the eighth and Boston could not come back. They faced old friend Andrew Miller in the ninth and went down in order. Sandy Leon fouled to first, Betts struck out, and Dustin Pedroia lined to third.

Pedroia singled and walked twice. ... Bogaerts and Napoli both doubled and walked. ... Sandoval had two singles.
Example
CC Sabathia / Justin Masterson
Betts, CF
Pedroia, 2B
Ortiz, DH
Ramirez, LF
Napoli, 1B
Sandoval, 3B
Craig, RF
Bogaerts, SS
Hanigan, C