Thursday, August 4, 2022

Bradley Jettisoned, Royals Beat Sox (8/4/22)

It was a long time coming but the Boston Red Sox made some much needed roster moves. Matt Barnes was activated from the Injured List and Darwinzon Hernandez was called up from Worcester. Brayan Bello was placed on the Injured List with a bad groin pull and Kaleb Ort was mercifully sent back to Worcester. The big news was Jackie Bradley Jr was released to make room for Eric Hosmer on the roster. Quite frankly Chaim Bloom completely botched the Hunter Renfroe trade. Alex Binelas is hitting just .136 in AA and David Hamilton is hitting just .228 although he does have FIFTY stolen bases. That pails in comparison to the black hole Bradley was on offense this year. The theory was Renfroe could hit 30 home runs but turtle in October while Bradley would hit .200 but turn into Superman in the post-season like he did in 2018. The problem that everyone saw coming but Bloom is the entire offense crapped the bed right out of the gate in April. Bradley's lack of offense killed rally after rally when the Sox desperately needed a base hit. With the Sox pretty much out of it with their offense in shambles and too many injuries, Bloom cut his losses by telling Bradley his services are no longer needed. If their offense was booming they could afford to hide a guy like Bradley in the nine hole and have him play defense. As it is they need all the help they can get offensively with Christian Vazquez gone and JBJ wasn't going to get it done. Unless David Hamilton becomes the next Tommy Harper, this trade is going to haunt the Sox for a long, LONG time.
                                                                         OUT
                                                                      IN

As for the game, Murphy's Law continued only this time it was manager Alex Cora that could do no right. After Reese McGuire went 2 for 3 last night, naturally Cora benched him for Kevin Plawecki tonight. The Kansas City Royals stole 4 bases off Plawecki which led to some of their runs scoring. Nick Pivetta had thrown just 86 pitches but was once again yanked after five innings. With the score tied 3-3, Cora brought in Darwinzon Hernandez in the seventh inning and he proceeded to give up 4 hits and 2 walks including the backbreaking 3 run home run to Salvador Perez. Tanner Houck, Garrett Whitlock and John Schreiber were all rested but the decision to go with Hernandez cost Cora the game. The pathetic Royals held the miserable Sox offense to just three runs and easily won the game 7-3 at Kauffman Stadium.
                                                   Live look at Alex Cora supporters

The Sox wasted no time getting to Royals starter Kris Bubic in the top of the first inning. Jaylin Davis walked, Tommy Pham doubled to right to move Jaylin to third and Rafael Devers cleared the bases with a base hit to left to put the Sox up just like that. Naturally the rally ended as Xander Bogaerts and JD Martinez both weakly flied out to right before Eric Hosmer made his Sox debut by flying out to center to end the inning with the Sox ahead 2-0.
                                                           Devers puts Boston on top

The Royals wasted no time getting to Pivetta in the bottom of the first as MJ Melendez hit a home run all the way to St Louis instantly. Bobby Witt Jr effortlessly got a base hit in the hole at short, stole second and took third on a Salvador Perez fly out to center. Vinnie Pasquantino hit a sac fly to center to score Witt to tie the game. Hunter Dozier flied out to center to end the inning with the game tied 2-2. 
                                                           Melendez answers

The Sox offense was done for the night although Christian Arroyo got a lucky hit to center to start. Naturally Kevin Plawecki banged into a double play and Jarren Duran flied out into left to end the inning. The Royals threatened in the bottom of the second although Michael Massey grounded out to first to start. Michael A Taylor was ruled safe on a grounder to second but Sox manager Alex Cora challenged that he was out at first, the replays showed he was. Nate Eaton easily beat out a roller to third, Nicky Lopez effortlessly singled to center to move Eaton to third and Nicky stole second. Somehow Melendez struck out swinging to end the inning. 

The Sox gave up in the top of the third as Davis struck out swinging to start. Pham flied out to right and Devers grounded out to first to end the inning. Somehow Witt Jr took strike three to start the bottom of the third before Perez flied out to center. Pasquantino grounded out to first to end the inning.

The misery continued in the top of the fourth as Bogaerts went down hacking to start. Martinez struck out swinging and Hosmer grounded pathetically back to the mound to end the inning. Dozier froze for strike three to begin the bottom of the fourth but Massey got a base hit to left. Taylor flied out to right but Massey swiped second. Eaton grounded out to third to end the inning. 

Arroyo grounded out weakly to the mound to start the top of the fifth but Plawecki got a lucky hit to left. Duran tried to drop down a bunt but Plawecki was thrown out at second. Didn't matter anyway because Davis struck out swinging to end the inning. Lopez walked to start the bottom of the fifth but Melendez struck out swinging. Lopez effortlessly stole second but Witt Jr took strike three. Perez easily got a base hit to right to score Lopez and put Kansas City on top. Pasquantino laughed at Pivetta as he doubled to right but Dozier flied out to right to end the inning with Royals ahead 3-2. That was it for Pivetta as Cora threw in the towel on this one as Nick allowed 3 runs in just 5 innings.
                                                         Pivetta doesn't last long

The ineptitude continued in the top of the sixth as Pham took strike three right down the middle to start. Devers grounded out weakly to the mound and Bogaerts went down hacking to end the inning. The Sox haven't had a base runner reach second after the Devers base hit in the first. The returning Matt Barnes came in to pitch the bottom of the sixth and Massey grounded out to short to start. Taylor grounded back to the mound and Eaton flied out to right to end the inning.

The Sox somehow fought back in the top of the seventh with Taylor Clarke on the mound. Martinez struck out swinging and Hosmer flied out to right, but Arroyo doubled to left. Shockingly Plawecki got a base hit to center to score Arroyo to tie the game. Duran walked and Alex Verdugo pinch hit for Davisn only to take strike three right down the middle to end the inning with the game tied 3-3.
                                                      Plawecki drives in a run

Naturally Darwinzon Hernandez came in to blow the game in the bottom of the seventh by walking Lopez to start. Melendez got a base hit to right to move Lopez to third and Nicky scored on the Witt base hit to left. Perez ended matters with a three run bomb into the Baltic Sea and Sox fans worldwide threw a fit that Cora brought in Hernandez into a tie game only to give up 4 runs on 3 hits and a walk. Cora ended up getting thrown out of the game by umpire Bill Welke to save him from himself. To add insult to injury Hernandez walked Pasquantino and Kyle Isabel ran for him. Isabel got picked off, Dozier lined out to short and Massey struck out swinging to end the inning but Cora cost the Sox the game with them now trailing 7-3.
                                                           Cora blows the game

Dylan Coleman came in to pitch the top of the eighth and Pham looked at strike three right down the middle to start. Devers drew a walk but Bogaerts lined out to right. Martinez popped up weakly to right to end the inning. Just for laughs, Hernandez came back for the bottom of the eighth and Taylor effortlessly singled to left to start. Somehow Eaton grounded into a double play and Lopez flied out to center to end the inning. 

Scott Barlow came in to close out the top of the ninth and Hosmer walked to start. Arroyo forced Hosmer at second and Plawecki grounded into a double play to end the game. The Royals had won it 7-3.
                                                            Royals win


Jackass of the Night should be Alex Cora but unfortunately its Darwinzon Hernandez. He turned a 3-3 game into 7-3 without recording an out.
                                                      Jackass Hernandez


The Good:

Rafael Devers was 1 for 3 with a walk and 2 runs batted in.

Christian Arroyo was 2 for 4 with a run scored.

Matt Barnes pitched a scoreless sixth inning.



The Bad:

Alex Verdugo struck out as a pinch hitter.

Xander Bogaerts was 0 for 4 with 2 strikeouts.

JD Martinez was 0 for 4 with 2 strikeouts.



The Ugly:

Jaylin Davis was 0 for 2 with 2 strikeouts but walked and scored a run.

Tommy Pham was just 1 for 4 with 2 strikeouts but scored a run.

Eric Hosmer was 0 for 3 but walked.

Kevin Plawecki was 2 for 4 with an rbi but allowed 4 stolen bases and hit into the game ending double play.

Jarren Duran was 0 for 2 but walked.

Nick Pivetta allowed 3 runs in just 5 innings of work.




Final Thoughts:

Just when you think the season couldn't get any worse, it does. The Sox score 3 total runs against a team that's notorious for giving up the long ball. The combination of piss-poor roster construction, injuries and down years by just about everyone has this one of the worst offenses in baseball. Its not just Bloom's fault, the magic seems to have worn off for Cora. Not that the Sox were going to score much anyway with their pathetic lineup, but bringing in Hernandez in a tie game in the seventh inning with your trio of terror rested is inexcusable. Just yet another bad move in a long line of them this season which can't end fast enough. Martinez just doesn't have it anymore, Duran and Verdugo regressed and the Sox aren't going to get much out of Reese McGuire, Pham and Hosmer. The only question is after the season, who pays the price? Cora? Bloom? Maybe both? Either way someone has to pay for the failure this year after coming two wins short of the world series last year. The loss dropped the Sox to 53-54, 4 games behind the Tampa Bay Rays for the third wild card. The Sox get shut down tonight in game two of this series by Zack Greinke of the Royals while Josh Winckowski (4-5, 5.00 ERA) gets lit up by the Royals offense. The massacre begins at 8:10 PM eastern time at Kauffman Stadium.

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Astros Shut Down Sox, Bello Hurt (8/3/22)

In the season of Murphy's Law for the Boston Red Sox, its latest victim was Brayan Bello. Not only did the pathetic Red Sox offense get held to just 4 hits and a run against Jose Urquidy and the Houston Astros, rookie starter Bello was brought in for relief only to pull a groin and most likely be out for the season just like everyone else it seems. Sox manager Alex Cora said he needed starter Rich Hill (4-5, 4.52 ERA) to go long to save his tired bullpen who've locked down the first two games. Instead the Astros jumped on Hill for four runs courtesy of a two run Trey Mancini home run. Hill was gone after the third inning, Bello in the fourth and Kaleb Ort had to be the sacrificial lamb. Reese McGuire had two hits in his Sox debut but the team as a whole had just four as the Astros effortlessly won this one 6-1 at Minute Maid Park.
                                                  Live look at most of the roster

Urquidy got the ball in the top of the first inning and Jarren Duran led off by striking out swinging on straight fastballs right down the middle. Tommy Pham hit a weak fly out to center and Rafael Devers struck out swinging on a changeup headed to the backstop to end the inning. The Astros ended the game early against Rich Hill as Jose Altuve effortlessly got a base hit to left to start. Jeremy Pena easily doubled to left and Yordan Alvarez grounded out to short to score Altuve, putting the Astros up for good 3 batters into the game. Alex Bregman hit a sac fly to center to score Pena but Aledmys Diaz popped up to Yolmer Sanchez to end the inning with the game over already 2-0.
                                                        Bregman drives in a run

The Sox quit in the top of the second as Xander Bogaerts struck out swinging at a pitch right down the middle to start. Alex Verdugo weakly popped up to third and Christian Arroyo grounded out weakly to first to end the inning. The Astros pounded Hill in the bottom of the second as Kyle Tucker caught Hill asleep with a bunt single to start. Trey Mancini laughed as he hit a home run all the way to San Antonio to ice the game. Christian Vazquez grounded out to short and former Sox prospect Mauricio Dubon struck out swinging. Altuve doubled to left but Pena grounded back to the mound to end the inning with the Astros up 4-0.
                                                                 Mancini ices it

The Sox failed to respond in the top of the third as Bobby Dalbec took a straight fastball right down the middle to start. Reese McGuire made his Sox debut with a weak fly out to center and Yolmer Sanchez struck out swinging on a ball that bounced eight feet from home plate to end the inning. The Sox proved nobody has a clue what's going on in the bottom of the third when Alvarez took strike three but stayed in the batter's box. Not a single person on the Red Sox nor the umpires figured it out and Alvarez got another pitch. Luckily Alvarez grounded out to first but if he had hit a home run, it would have been par for the course with the way Cora's team is completely unaccountable. Bregman flied out to right but Diaz singled to center, only for Tucker to fly out to right to end the inning. Even though Cora wanted him to go long, he pulled Hill after just three innings and four runs allowed. Way to put the Sox in a position to win by yanking your starter early again, Alex!
                                                          Hill lasted just three innings

Durran continued his cold streak by weakly flying out to left to start the top of the fourth before Pham grounded out weakly to short. Devers took a straight fastball right down the middle for strike three to end the inning. Brayan Bello came in to pitch the bottom of the fourth but Christian Vazquez in the other dugout noticed something was off about him. Mancini struck out swinging but Bello was clutching at his groin. Vazquez himself took strike three and told McGuire behind the plate that Bello was hurt. Sure enough, Dubon doubled to left and Altuve beat out a roller to second to put runners at the corners. Finally Cora woke up for his nap and saw Bello in obvious pain, yanking him mercifully. Hiro Sawamura came in and got Pena to force Altuve at second to end the inning. Lord knows when we see Bello ever again.
                                                           Bello had to leave the game

Bogaerts grounded out weakly to short to start the top of the fifth before Verdugo was accidentally hit with a pitch to break up the perfect game. Verdugo moved to second on a weak grounder to the mound by Arroyo and Dalbec flied out weakly to left to end the inning. Kaleb Ort came in to take a beating in the bottom of the fifth although Alvarez flied out to center to start. Bregman got a base hit to right, Diaz was hit with a pitch and Tucker doubled to center to score both runners. Kyle Tucker pretty much outhit the Red Sox by himself. Mancini flied out to right to move Tucker to third but Vazquez lined out to right to end the inning with the Astros up 6-0.
                                                         Tucker with a two run double

McGuire broke up the no-hitter with his first base hit to center to start the top of the sixth. Sanchez struck out swinging on a pitch over his head and Duran struck out swinging on a straight fastball right down the middle, but Pham somehow doubled to left. With a chance to get back in the game, Devers struck out swinging on a curveball nowhere close to the plate to end the inning. Dubon struck out swinging to start the bottom of the sixth before Altuve ripped a base hit to right. Pena struck out swinging and Alvarez grounded out to second to end the inning.

Bogaerts flied out weakly to right to start the top of the seventh before Verdugo swung and missed at a hanging curveball for strike three. Arroyo grounded out weakly to third to end the inning. Bregman got a base hit to left to start the bottom of the seventh but Diaz flied out to right. Sanchez made a great catch to rob Tucker of a single and doubled off Bregman at first to end the inning.

Seth Martinez came in to pitch the top of the eighth and Dalbec flied out weakly to left to begin. McGuire got another base hit to right and Sanchez walked. Duran beat out a double play ball to put runners at the corners but Pham grounded weakly back to the mound to end the inning. Ryan Brasier came in to pitch the bottom of the eighth and Mancini struck out swinging to begin. Vazquez flied out to right and Dubon lined out to left to end the inning.

Will Smith came in to close out the top of the ninth and Devers flied out weakly to left to start. Somehow Bogaerts smashed his ninth home run of the season to break up the shutout but Verdugo flied out weakly to center. Arroyo grounded out weakly to first to end the game. The Astros avoided a sweep with a 6-1 victory.
                                                          Astros win....good luck Vazquez


Jackass of the Night is Rich Hill. The Sox needed a good start with almost no offensive talent in the game and he allowed 4 runs in 3 innings to put them in a hole they couldn't climb out of.
                                                                Hill Jackass

The Good:

Reese McGuire was 2 for 3.

Brayan Bello got two guys out before leaving with injury.

Hiro Sawamura got the final out of the fourth inning.

Ryan Brasier pitched a scoreless eighth inning.



The Bad:

Jarren Duran was 0 for 4 with 2 strikeouts.

Rafael Devers was 0 for 4 with a hat trick of 3 strikeouts.

Christian Arroyo was 0 for 4.

Bobby Dalbec was 0 for 3 with a strikeout.

Kaleb Ort allowed 2 runs in 3 innings of work.



The Ugly:

Tommy Pham was just 1 for 4.

Xander Bogaerts was just 1 for 4 with a strikeout but the one hit was a solo home run.

Alex Verdugo was 0 for 3 with a strikeout but was hit with a pitch.

Yolmer Sanchez was 0 for 2 with 2 strikeouts but walked.




Final Thoughts:

Talk about quitting. This game wasn't even competitive and was over in the first inning. Every move Chaim Bloom has made has backfired and the trade deadline may prove to be no different. The Sox scored a combined 6 runs in 3 games against the Astros and needed outstanding pitching to win two of them. With Trevor Story out and the bottom of the order a black hole, they'll be lucky to score 4 runs a game moving forward. Urquidy was good but he's pitching against a bonafide triple A team these days. The less said of this disaster, the better. The loss dropped the Sox to 53-53, 3 games behind the Tampa Bay Rays for the third wild card. The Sox now travel to Kansas City for a four game set with the lowly Royals. If the Sox want to keep pace in the wild card chase they need to win at least three of these games. Tomorrow night Nick Pivetta (8-8, 4.47 ERA) takes on Kris Bubic of the Royals. The game begins at 8:10 PM eastern time at Kauffman Stadium.

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Sox Trade For Hosmer, Sox Beat Astros (8/2/22)

The trade deadline came and went today and the Sox made one eye opening move. The Sox sent 2016 1st round pick pitcher Jay Groome to the San Diego Padres for 32 year old former gold glove first baseman Eric Hosmer along with two prospects from the 2021 draft. Groome has had an arduous journey coming back from one injury after another and just didn't seem to rediscover the velocity that made him one of the top prospects in the 2016 draft.  Hosmer was one of the key figures of the 2014-15 Kansas City Royals that repeated as AL Champion and won it all in 2015. These days he hits into a lot of double plays but he's still an instant upgrade over Franchy Cordero and Bobby Dalbec. Between Pham and Hosmer coming to Boston, its not that much better but it gets Franchy and Jackie Bradley Jr out of the lineup. The two prospects the Sox got were 22 year old High A outfielder Corey Rosier and 22 year old second baseman Max Ferguson. Rosier was chosen 8 picks after the Sox chose Christopher Troye by the Seattle Mariners and he was sent to San Diego in the Adam Frazier trade. The plus side to Rosier is he's a speed demon, stealing 33 bags for San Diego's A+ team so far this year. Ferguson was taken 24 picks after the Sox chose Nathan Hickey and unfortunately is hitting just .162 with 3 home runs for San Diego's A+ team. Combined with Alex Binelas, the Sox now have 19 picks from the 2021 draft (replacing 3 of the 4 that didn't sign). Like mentioned earlier, the acquisitions of Hosmer, Pham and McGuire don't make the team significantly better and the fact they didn't trade Nathan Eovaldi or JD Martinez means they didn't really sell either. All in all they traded Christian Vazquez, Jake Diekman and Jay Groome for Wilyer Abreu, Enmanuel Valdez, Tommy Pham, Reese McGuire, Eric Hosmer, Corey Rosier and Max Ferguson. At this point the Sox didn't really buy or sell and are still stuck in mediocrity. Now for tonight's game, Tommy Pham and Reese McGuire have been activated and Rafael Devers came off the Injured List. Rob Refsnyder was placed on the Injured List while Jaylin Davis and Franchy Cordero was sent back to Worcester. Thank god!


                                                                        OUT
                                                                  IN

As for the game, for the second straight night the gruesome Boston Red Sox amounted almost nothing against the defending AL Champion Houston Astros. The Sox had just 5 total hits and just 4 against Houston starter Cristian Javier. Luckily the returning Rafael Devers and rookie starter Kutter Crawford (3-3, 3.86 ERA) saved the day. Crawford allowed a first inning run but shut down Houston in six solid innings. Rafael Devers drove home new addition Tommy Pham in the fourth inning and smashed a towering home run in the sixth. Hiro Sawamura, Austin Davis and Tanner Houck preserved the win. Houck managed to retire former Orioles nemesis Trey Mancini and former teammate Christian Vazquez in the ninth. The offense is still a mess but the pitching held up for the second night in a row as the Sox had won it 2-1 at Minute Maid Park. 
                                            The late Vin Scully (RIP) approves of the win

Javier got the ball in the top of the first inning and Jarren Duran struck out swinging to start. Tommy Pham made his Sox debut and naturally struck out swinging before Rafael Devers also went down hacking to end the inning. The Astros wasted no time getting to Crawford in the bottom of the first as Jose Altuve effortlessly doubled to left on the first pitch to start. Yulu Gurriel ripped a base hit to center to put the Astros up two batters into the game. Yordan Alvarez flied out to left and Gurriel stole second on the Alex Bregman swinging strikeout. Kyle Tucker walked but Aledmys Diaz forced Tucker at second to end the inning with the Astros up 1-0.
                                                    Gurriel puts Houston on top

JD Martinez popped up to short to start the top of the second before Alex Verdugo went down hacking. Christian Arroyo flied out to right to end the inning. Jeremy Pena got a single up the middle to start the bottom of the second but was thrown out trying to steal. Jake Meyers lined out to short and Martin Maldonado struck out swinging to end the inning. 

Bobby Dalbec walked to start the top of the third but Yolmer Sanchez lined out to center and Kevin Plawecki grounded into a double play to end the inning. Altuve flied out to left to start the bottom of the third and Gurriel grounded out to short. Alvarez struck out looking to end the inning. 

The Sox struck back in the top of the fourth although Duran grounded out to second to start. Pham got a base hit to center and scored on the double to right by Devers to tie the game. Martinez struck out swinging and Verdugo grounded out to short to end the inning but the game was tied 1-1. 
                                              Devers drives in a run

The Astros threatened in the bottom of the fourth although Bregman grounded out to short to start. Tucker struck out swinging but Diaz best out a roller to third. Diaz took third on the base hit to right by Pena but Meyers grounded out to short to end the inning. 

Arroyo popped up to first to start the top of the fifth but somehow Dalbec got a base hit to right. Naturally Sanchez flied out to center and Plawecki took strike three to end the inning. Maldonado grounded out to third to begin the bottom of the fifth before Altuve froze for strike three. Gurriel singled to center but Alvarez struck out swinging on a nasty changeup to end the inning.

The Sox took the lead in the top of the sixth as Duran grounded out to first to start. Pham popped up to third but Devers launched his 23rd home run of the season to put Boston on top. Martinez struck out swinging to end the inning with the Sox ahead 2-1.
                                                      Devers does it again

Naturally the Astros responded in the bottom of the sixth as Bregman beat out a roller to third to start. Tucker forced him at second and Diaz forced Kyle at second as well. Pena flied out to center to end the inning and that was it for Crawford. He was outstanding, holding the Astros to a first inning run and 7 hits in 6 solid innings.
                                                          Crawford shuts down Houston

Bryan Abreu came in to pitch the top of the seventh and Verdugo struck out swinging to start. Somehow Arroyo got a base hit to center  but Sanchez grounded out to second to end the inning. Hiro Sawamura came in to pitch the bottom of the seventh and Meyers grounded out to third to start. Maldonado struck out swinging but Altuve got a base hit to center. Gurriel popped up to short to end the inning.

Hector Neris came in to pitch the top of the eighth and Plawecki struck out swinging to start. Duran grounded out to second and Pham struck out swinging to end the inning. Austin Davis came in to pitch the bottom of the eighth and naturally Alvarez doubled to left to start. Bregman walked but shockingly Tucker struck out swinging. Sox manager Alex Cora brought in Tanner Houck for the 5 out save and Diaz lined out to left. Pena flied out to center to end the inning.

Rafael Montero came in to pitch the top of the ninth and Devers grounded out to short to start. Martinez struck out swinging and Verdugo lined out to right to end the inning. Just like last night with Duran, the Sox would have been shutout if it wasn't for Devers. The Astros had a nasty surprise in the bottom of the ninth as newly acquired Trey Mancini pinch hit for Meyers with Jackie Bradley Jr in for Pham in right to start. Mancini grounded out to third and none other than Christian Vazquez pinch hit for Maldonado. Vazquez grounded out to second and Altuve flied out to center to end the game. The Sox had won it 2-1.
                                                         Sox win

Hero of the Night is Rafael Devers. He drove in the only Sox runs including the go-ahead home run in the sixth inning.
                                                                 Raffy Hero


The Good:

Christian Arroyo was 1 for 3.

Bobby Dalbec was 1 for 2 with a walk.

Kutter Crawford got the win by allowing just 7 hits and a run in 6 solid innings. He walked just one and struck out six batters.

Hiro Sawamura pitched a scoreless seventh inning.

Austin Davis got the first out of the eighth inning.

Tanner Houck earned his eighth save with 1 2/3 scoreless innings.



The Bad:

Jarren Duran was 0 for 4 with a strikeout.

JD Martinez was 0 for 4 with a hat trick of 3 strikeouts.

Alex Verdugo was 0 for 4 with 2 strikeouts.

Yolmer Sanchez was 0 for 3.

Kevin Plawecki was 0 for 3 with 2 strikeouts.



The Ugly:

Tommy Pham was just 1 for 4 with 2 strikeouts but scored a run.



Honorable Mention:

Jackie Bradley Jr played right field in the bottom of the ninth.




Final Thoughts:

The offense is still atrocious but the pitching held up for the second night in a row. Crawford pitched a hell of a game and Houck navigated through a tough situation with pinch hitters in the ninth. The offense right now is pray Xander Bogaerts or Devers does something because the entire team is back to where they were in April. Eric Hosmer, Reese McGuire and Pham aren't going to help the team THAT much. They'll average 4 runs a game instead of 2, yippie.....The good news is the three headed attack of Garrett Whitlock, John Schreiber and Tanner Houck has finally settled down the later innings and it would be nice if Josh Taylor or Matt Strahm got healthy to give them a lefty to help. Losing Vazquez sucks and Jay Groome was just starting to come back, but to give them up for four prospects, Pham and Hosmer could be a blessing in disguise if one of the prospects develops. The Sox have also won their first series since they beat the Guardians over a month ago. In terms of the trade deadline the Sox essentially did nothing one way or the other. They didn't trade a lot of prospects to add pieces and they didn't trade all their best guys to rebuild either. The subtraction of Christian Vazquez and addition of Eric Hosmer balanced each other out. Where they go from here depends entirely on the rotation now. If Chris Sale, James Paxton and Michael Wacha are pretty much finished then forget it. The Sox won't be able to survive throwing three rookies out there week after week. The Sox are still in last place in the division but they inched closer to the Tampa Bay Rays who lost to the Toronto Blue Jays tonight. Essentially the Sox are a healthy rotation away from competing for the wild card and time will tell if they can hang on. The win improved the Sox to 53-52, 2 games behind the Rays for the third wild card. The Sox look for the series sweep tomorrow afternoon when Brayan Bello (0-3, 8,82 ERA) looks for his first ML win against Jose Urquidy of Houston. The game begins at 2:10 PM Eastern time at Minute Maid Park.

Monday, August 1, 2022

Vazquez Traded, Sox Defeat Astros (8/1/22)

After weeks of speculation, the rumors of the Boston Red Sox being sellers were absolutely true. The first to go was incumbent catcher Christian Vazquez and struggling reliever Jake Diekman. Vazquez was shipped out to tonight's opponent Houston Astros in exchange for 23 year old outfielder Wilyer Abreu who's hitting .249 with 15 home runs in AA and 23 year old slugger Enmanuel Valdez who's hitting .327 with 21 home runs between AA and AAA this season. Chaim Bloom has had almost zero success in his trades the last 3 years so we fully expect for Abreu to be mediocre in AA and Valdez to fall flat on his face in Worcester just like Nick Yorke, Tyreqe Reed and Joe Davis has done. The Sox also managed to dump Jake Diekman on the Chicago White Sox for a player to be named and catcher Reese McGuire....the same McGuire who was arrested for jacking off in public two years ago. If McGuire wasn't enough bad press, the Sox topped it by sending a player to be named to the Cincinnati Reds for noted hot-head Tommy Pham. Giving up the beloved Vazquez for McGuire and Pham may save owner John Henry a few bucks but PR is going to have a nightmare explaining this. To replace Vazquez and Diekman, the Sox activated Rich Hill off the injured list and promoted catcher Ronaldo Hernandez from Worcester.
                                                                     OUT
                                                                   IN

As for the game, somehow the rag-tag Sox defeated the American League champion Astros just minutes after Christian Vazquez was traded to them. Nathan Eovaldi (5-3, 4.11 ERA) pitched his best game in months, holding the Astros to 2 unearned runs in 6 1/3 gutty innings. After the awful Sox defense turned a 1-0 lead into a 2-1 deficit, Jarren Duran stepped up with a two run home run in the fifth inning to put Boston on top. John Schreiber and Tanner Houck stepped up the rest of the way to lead the Sox to a hard fought 3-2 victory over the Astros at Minute Maid Park.
                                                          Bruno Madrigal approves of the win

Luis Garcia got the ball in the top of the first inning as Jarren Duran flied out to center to start. Xander Bogaerts flied out to center and Alex Verdugo took strike three right down the middle to end the inning.  Eovaldi got the ball in the bottom of the first and Jose Altuve lined out to third to start. Yuli Gurriel effortlessly doubled to center and moved to third on the Yordan Alvarez grounder to second. Somehow Aledmys Diaz grounded out to third to end the inning.

JD Martinez flied out to right to start the top of the second inning before Christian Arroyo flied out to right as well. Franchy Cordero struck out swinging to end the inning. Kyle Tucker grounded out to first to start the bottom of the second before Jeremy Pena flied out to center. Chas McCormick walked and Jake Meyers got a base hit to left, but Martin Maldonado struck out swinging to end the inning.

The Sox struck first in the top of the third inning as Bobby Dalbec got a double to left to start Yolmer Sanchez popped up to first and Kevin Plawecki flied out to right, but Duran hit a ground rule double down the right field line to score Dalbec. A wild pitch moved Duran to third but Bogaerts struck out swinging to end the inning with the Sox up 1-0.
                                                            Duran drives in a run

The Sox defense reared its ugly head in the bottom of the third as Altuve hit a routine grounder to Arroyo who picked up the third base bag and threw it at the ball for an error. Gurriel hit a routine grounder to Bogaerts who picked up the second base bag and used it as a shield on the ball for another error to put runners at the corners. Alvarez hit a sac fly to left to score Altuve and Diaz doubled to left to score Gurriel to put the Astros on top. Tucker walked but Pena flied out to right and McCormick flied out to center to end the inning with the Astros ahead 2-1.
                                                                  A comedy of errors

Verdugo got a base hit to center to start the top of the fourth but Martinez banged into a double play. Arroyo got a base hit to right and Cordero grounded back to the mound to end the inning. Eovaldi recovered in the bottom of the fourth as Meyers popped up to first to start. Maldonado grounded out to short and Altuve grounded out to third to end the inning.

The Sox struck back in the top of the fifth as Dalbec walked to start. Sanchez struck out swinging and Plawecki flied out to left, but Duran clobbered his second home run of the year to put the Sox on top. Bogaerts flied out to left to end the inning with Boston ahead 3-2.
                                                        Duran stepping it up tonight

Gurriel grounded out to short to start the bottom of the fifth but Alvarez took strike three. Diaz took strike three as well to end the inning.

Verdugo popped up to third to start the top of the sixth but Martinez got a base hit to left. Arroyo flied out to center and Cordero grounded out to second to end the inning. Tucker grounded out to first to start the bottom of the fifth before Pena struck out swinging. McCormick also went down hacking to end the inning.

Dalbec took strike three to start the top of the seventh before Sanchez flied out to left. Plawecki grounded out to first to end the inning. Meyers took strike three to start the bottom of the seventh but Maldonado got a base hit to right to chase Eovladi. Nathan pitched his best game in over a month by allowing no earned runs in 6 1/3 innings. John Schreiber came in and got Altuve to ground into a double play to end the inning.
                                                                        Eovaldi gets it done

Phil Maton came in to pitch the top of the eighth and Duran grounded back to the mound to begin. Bogaerts struck out swinging and Verdugo took strike three to end the inning. Gurriel struck out swimnging to start the bottom of the eighth but Alvarez walked. Diaz got a base hit to right and both runners moved over on the Tucker grounder to the mound. With the game on the line, Pena was caught looking for strike three to end the inning.

Rafael Montero came in to pitch the top of the ninth and Martinez struck out swinging to start. Arroyo lined out to center and Cordero flied out to right to end the inning. If it wasn't for Duran's heroics the Sox would have been shut-out again. Jackie Bradley Jr took over in right with Tanner Houck in to close out the bottom of the ninth. McCormick grounded out to short and JJ Matijevic pinch hit for Meyers. Matijevic struck out swinging and Taylor Jones pinch hit for Maldonado. Maldonado grounded out to short to end the game. The Sox had won it 3-2.
                                                             Sox win

Hero of the Night is Jarren Duran. He drove in all three runs the Sox scored including the two run home run to put them on top.
                                                          Duran the Hero


The Good:

Bobby Dalbec was 1 for 2 with a walk and 2 runs scored.

John Schreiber tossed 1 2/3 scoreless innings.

Tanner Houck earned his seventh save with a scoreless ninth inning.



The Bad:

Xander Bogaerts was 0 for 4 with 2 strikeouts with an error.

Franchy Cordero was 0 for 4 with a strikeout.

Yolmer Sanchez was 0 for 3 with a strikeout.

Kevin Plawecki was 0 for 3.



The Ugly:

Alex Verdugo was just 1 for 4 with 2 strikeouts.

JD Martinez was just 1 for 4 with a strikeout.

Christian Arroyo was just 1 for 4 with an error.



Honorable Mention:

Jackie Bradley Jr played right field in the bottom of the ninth.




Final Thoughts:

Good win but it looks like the Sox are going to be sellers at the deadline. Trading one of the only guys with value in Vazquez and bringing in sub-par talent such as McGuire and Pham to play out the string is a dead giveaway that more moves are on the horizon. It looks like Xander Bogaerts is safe but JD Martinez is the top name on the trading block. He's pretty much said his goodbyes through social media if this is the end so its just a question of what they get back in return. With the trio of Schreiber, Houck and Whitlock nailing down the later innings, another bullpen arm could be the target if they unload Martinez. As for tonight's game, that was a pretty good win. Eovaldi tossed his best game since coming off the Injured List and Duran stepped it up tonight. The Sox committed more errors but Arroyo is not a third baseman and shouldn't be in there. Even the Sox mood isn't good as some of the players grumbled after the game. Good! I hope they get mad at how they played in July that took them from the top wild card spot to last place in the AL East. Maybe they need to get nasty in order to fight back after they humiliated themselves in July. There's one day left until the deadline so it'll be interesting to see what happens tomorrow and who stays or who goes. The win improved the Sox to 52-52, 3 games behind the Seattle Mariners for the third wild card. The Sox look to make it three wins in a row tomorrow night against Houston when they send rookie Kutter Crawford (2-3, 4.15 ERA) to the mound against Cristian  Javier of the Astros. The game begins at 8:10 PM Eastern time at Minute Maid Park.