Red Sox Walkoff In Back to Back Games Over Phillies

The Sox are coming off of a two-game stretch against the Philadelphia Phillies in which the Red Sox Walkoffteam took home back to back walkoff wins. Fenway Park was buzzing on Monday and Tuesday night when Boston came away victorious in a couple of extra-inning affairs. The hero on Monday night was Dustin Pedroia, while the clutch hitter of the night on Tuesday was Andrew Benintendi. These wins are more than just a W in the column. Walkoffs not only raise confidence, but also team chemistry and usually performance catches a boost as well. The Red Sox walkoff wins should do just that.

Red Sox Walkoff Against Phillies Monday Night

On Monday night, the Red Sox trailed 4-0 after the first inning. Rick Porcello has unfortunately continued to struggle in finding a rhythm this season. The Sox did manage to battle back though, as Mookie Betts went for 3 doubles on the night and Benintendi had 3 hits. In the eleventh inning, the stage was set as Dustin Pedroia lined a ball past the second baseman Howie Kendrick. Devin Marrero score the game winning run on a head-first slide, and the celebration ensued.

Red Sox Walkoff Again on Tuesday

Fast forward to Tuesday night where Boston and Philladelphia played very evenly, matching each other with a 3-3 score in the 6th. That score would stay the same until the 12th until Andrew Benintendi came to the plate. The young Red Sox outfielding phenom ripped the ball down the right field line, scoring Xander Bogaerts and walking off for the second night in a row. Xander led the way with three hits while Mitch Moreland hit his ninth home run of the season.

What Do the Red Sox Walkoff Wins Mean?

I’m not sure why this team likes to give the fans so much stress sometimes, but a win is still a win. No matter how good we look on paper, this is still baseball where anyone can win on any day. In a league where the Cubs can lose three out of four to the Rockies, anything can happen. As long as the Sox get the win, that is really all that matters. They just have to make sure they compete against the great teams in our league, as well as the bad.

Craig Kimbrel’s Dominance is What Red Sox Traded For

One of Dave Dombrowski’s first moves as Red Sox President of Baseball Operations was trading for established closer Craig Kimbrel. Kimbrel came from San Diego for a slew of prospects. At that point, he was one of the most accomplished closers in baseball, the fastest in major league history to reach 200 saves. It took a year, but we’re starting to see Craig Kimbrel’s dominance that made the trade such a bargain.

Kimbrel’s first season in Boston wasn’t exactly his best. By no means was it bad but theCraig Kimbrel's dominance back of his jersey could’ve aptly said “Cardiac Arrest” over his number 46. In his 53 innings of work, he surrendered 30 walks and four home runs and only recorded 31 saves. While that last statistic may not seem bad, he already has 17 saves this season not yet halfway through. Kimbrel’s defining moment of the 2016 season may be when he gave up a walk-off grand slam to Mark Teixeira after the Red Sox had already clinched the division.

This season has been much like a typical Kimbrel one and then some. In a word, he has been dominant. Like ridiculously dominant. He is 17 of 18 in save opportunities and his WHIP is a minuscule 0.49. On top of leading the league in saves, he has struck out an astronomical 53 of the 96 batters he has faced.

Reasonably so with those numbers, he has been a lot more comfortable to watch as a fan. His fastball is once again living in the 97-99 MPH range and he has had no trouble locating his slider of curve ball. It was the lack of breaking ball control last year that attributed to all those walks. Now, however, batters can’t even touch the 29 year-old. Kimbrel’s performance this season is a big reason why the Red Sox have an outstanding record hen leading after seven innings.

Why Was Craig Kimbrel’s Dominance Missing in 2016?

The masterful work of the Red Sox closer this year brings up a lot of questions about his 2016 season. Personally, I don’t think Kimbrel was 100% healthy last year. He missed a few weeks in July with a knee injury but I think it was more than that. He had horrendous location for the first time in his career. Also, you have to take into account where they got him from. He was traded from the Padres, who sent damaged goods over in Drew Pomeranz without telling the Red Sox he was hurt. I think there’s a very real possibility they did the same with Kimbrel.

If Kimbrel can keep up this pace, it will be nothing but great news for the Red Sox. Like having a clutch, dependable kicker in football, having a top-notch closer is essential to a championship team. It changes how you manage late in a game. With the incompetence of John Farrell, a good closer can correct a lot of his mistakes. Honestly, If Kimbrel is half the closer he has been so far, the Red Sox are in good shape. Yes, he’s been that good.

How Did Mike Greenwell Disappear?

I first became a Red Sox fan in 1988. My siblings attended college in Boston so I adopted the Red Sox as my favorite team despite being a New Yorker. While my brother rooted for the Mets, I rooted for Roger Clemens, Jim Rice, and Mike Greenwell. While the first two players are remembered, there are times when I often ask myself: How did Mike Greenwell disappear?

Greenwell was a great player during his days with Red Sox. He shouldered the pressure ofGreenwell Disappear playing left field where greats like Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski once played. Greenwell never really had Hall of Fame numbers. They were good enough though to earn a Silver Slugger and two All-Star appearances. In fact, he holds a few distinct records. 1988 saw Greenwell set the American League record for most game-winning RBIs in a single season with 23. In 1996, Greenwell set another record by driving in all nine runs in a 9-8 win over Seattle. So while he was never a real MVP contender, his reliability cannot be denied.

Then in 1996, Greenwell retired. Where did Greenwell disappear to?

Greenwell Disappeared to Japan, Then Became a Race Car Driver

In 1997 Greenwell signed with the Harshen Tigers of Japan. It was a short-lived career with Greenwell retiring only a few months into the season after sustaining multiple playing injuries. After a few coaching stints in the Reds’ organization, Greenwell tried his hand at racing. Greenwell started racing model stock cars at New Smyrna Speedway in Florida where he won the 2000 Speedweeks track championship. He retired from racing in 2010. Greenwell now grows fruits and vegetables on his farm in Alva, Florida. He also owns and operates Mike Greenwell’s Bat-A-Ball & Family Fun Park.

While he didn’t have the longest career, Greenwell retired with a .303 average and 726 RBIs. On a larger level though, Greenwell represents that Red Sox nostalgia that made me fall in love with the team. From hanging his poster over my bed to watching him play back in the 1980s, Greenwell was a staple of Fenway Park for many years. I only wish he’d make more appearances at Fenway Park.

Pomeranz Emerges As Unlikely Ace

Despite a less-than-stellar beginning with the Red Sox last season, Drew Pomeranz has become an unlikely ace this season. Pomeranz emerges as a reliable pitcher in the wake of a string of lineup injuries this season. David Price is just now returning. Steve Wright had season-ending surgery a while back. Rick Porcello is struggling to meet this season’s expectations. Eduardo Rodriguez is back on the DL. So with the Red Sox struggling to climb to first, manager John Farrell seems to depend more on Pomeranz’s control. At 5-3 with 64 K’s for the year, Pomeranz is on his way to having a career year.

Part of Pomeranz’s success this season stems from his cutter. A cutter is a fastball thatPomeranz Emerges cuts away towards the pitcher’s glove as it crosses home plate. While it’s been around since the 50’s, Mariano Rivera perfected it when he rose to dominance as a reliever. Another reason behind Pomeranz’s success is that few paid attention to him when the season began so the expectations, and the pressure, were low. All eyes were on Chris Sale and David Price. On top of that, Pomeranz had a terrible 2016 season with the Red Sox. He went 3-5 with a 4.59 ERA after joining the Sox in a trade from San Diego where he’d been an All-Star. No one expected him to perform.

Pomeranz Emerges As A Dependable Pitcher

A sorely missed David Price returned to the Red Sox last week. While he dominated the Orioles in his first game back, he may still not be 100%. Rick Porcello continues to struggle on the mound. Eduardo Rodriguez is on the DL again. Chris Sale is as solid as always. But the Red Sox only benefit by having Pomeranz in their rotation as he continues to develop his artillery of pitches. His National League experience helps too.

Who knows whether the Red Sox will take first place and the division this year. But one thing is for sure. As Pomeranz emerges as an unlikely ace, he’ll benefit the Red Sox as Price and Porcello find their consistency. If all four pitchers can come together to dominate the American League, it’ll be in parr to Pomeranz’s developing abilities.

What if Jon Lester’s Red Sox Career Continued?

The Prologue

In 2014, Boston was at a crossroads with their franchise pitcher. Jon Lester’s Red Sox Career was in question due to his then upcoming free agency. He had claimed to be willing to take a “hometown discount” so he could stay in Boston. But when Red Sox brass reportedly offered him a 4-year/$70-million-dollar contract, the two sides never reached an agreement. Jon Lester's Red Sox Career

Lester stayed with the Sox for the beginning of the 2014 season and made the All-Star Game. However, the team was seemingly out of it at the trade deadline, and Lester was shipped to Oakland as a rental with Jonny Gomes in exchange for Yoenis Cespedes.

At the end of the season, Cespedes was traded to Detroit for Rick Porcello. Meanwhile, Lester still became a free agent. The Red Sox were in talks to re-sign him but faced huge competition from the Chicago Cubs. Thus, Jon Lester’s Red Sox career was in jeopardy.

Eventually, the Cubs won the bidding and signed Lester to a six-year, $155 million deal with a vesting option for a seventh year at $15 million. The move reunited him with both David Ross and Theo Epstein. John Lackey, who was also traded in July 2014, would join the club the following year.

What if Jon Lester’s Red Sox Career Continued??

But what if John Henry and Co. had signed Lester to a big deal of their own? Let’s say at around the same price the Cubs paid, or more.

Well for starters, David Price would either be a Yankee, a Cub, or a Cardinal.

Rick Porcello may or may not be on the roster. Depends on how comfortable they would’ve been with Lester, Clay Buchholz, and prospects like Rubby de la Rosa, Brandon Workman, and Anthony Ranaudo.

Only one of those guys (Workman) remains on the 40-man roster today. Eduardo Rodriguez, though still very young then, could have been another compliment.

Both Justin Masterson and Wade Miley wouldn’t have been acquired. Obviously, they were only placeholders until Price came along. But, of course, with Lester who needs Price?

Additionally, David Ross would’ve stayed with Boston for the remainder of his career. He and David Ortiz would’ve retired at the same time.

Dave Dombrowski wouldn’t have been hired because the Ben Cherington would’ve had less pressure to succeed if he had kept Epstein’s guys, like Lester, around to help. Likewise, I believe the Sox would’ve won more games in 2015 with one ace as opposed to five #4 starters.

So would the Cubs win the World Series in 2016 without Lester? Nope.

Instead, I bet Theo would’ve chased Price or Zack Greinke in the 2015 offseason. Especially if Lester had slipped away and the team failed to reach the NLCS. The ’16 Cubs would then, of course, have a similar campaign and reach the postseason. Only to lose Game 5 of the NLDS to the Giants with David Price on the mound.

The Giants would’ve made the World Series and played the young and exciting Red Sox (of course). Jon Lester would pitch Game 7 against Madison Bumgarner in an epic duel. Almost as good as the Cubs-Indians duel.

It’s a shame that the team who drafted, developed, and gave him everything didn’t resign him. Jon Lester is a hero to many – and his resilience through cancer, dominance on the mound, and consistent sportsmanship is legendary.

We may never know.

David Price’s Return Resembles A Mid-Season Acquisition

Attitude aside, if David Price can stay healthy and pitch well, the Red Sox are in good shape. He could add that vital power arm the Red Sox have been yearning for all year and we can finally see that Big Three we’ve wanted in the rotation. David Price’s return could be better than any mid-season trade the Red Sox could’ve made.

First and foremost, we still have to worry about Price’s health. The injury he sustainedDavid Price's return almost always leads to Tommy John surgery. The fact that it didn’t lead to that diagnosis is nothing short of a miracle. Also, he’s 31 years old. The older these guys get, the harder it is to come back from these kinds of injuries. Also, the weather in New England has been absolutely miserable this month. Arctic temperatures and poor weather never helps a guy whose arm isn’t 100%. It is no guarantee Price can finish out this season without any problems.

Price also still needs to bounce back from some disappointing stretches last year. As I’ve said before, he didn’t have a bad year necessarily. It was just underwhelming. Now, he is clearly not the ace of the staff like was asked to be last year. With Price having the mental toughness of a middle schooler, taking that pressure off him could be huge. With the dominance of Chris Sale thus far, Price can become a great complimentary pitcher. That’s what $217 million will get you these days.

Not to be lost in this, Price was good in his return. Good enough anyway. He went five innings and gave up three runs on just two hits. Not to sound like Clay Buchholz, but his one bad inning was very preventable. He laid a meatball over the plate to Melky Cabrera for a 3-run homer and that was it. He did have some issues with his control, however. The two guys on base there were both walked and Price was constantly losing hitters when ahead in the count.

Physically, he looked good. He couldn’t common his cutter but his fastball was hitting 95-96 MPH. We’ll see if that comes back to bite him, but he was efficient for a guy coming off an injury like that. He hit his 90 pitch limit in those five innings but wasn’t too stressed. Cabrera’s home run was the only time there was more than one White Sock on base against him.

Overall, Price was impressive. If he can hold up, even after back to back losses, this could be huge for Boston. Price gave them a chance to win yesterday before Matt Barnes blew it. This could prevent the Red Sox from making an ill-advised trade for a starter this summer. Again, David Price’s return could be a mid-season acquisition that can propel the Red Sox towards the playoffs again.