Historic Series for Boston As They Take Two in Cleveland

After dropping game one in Cleveland, the Red Sox had a surge that lasted two games. This surge was fueled by Chris Sale, Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts. These three men had a historic series in Cleveland that propelled the Red Sox to victory. Sale became the fastest pitcher to get to 2,000 career strikeouts  on Tuesday night. He achieved the milestone after pitching in 1,626 innings. The last person to accomplish the feat was Hall of Famer, Pedro Martinez. Both pitchers also accomplished the feat while playing for Boston.

That’s not all. Rafael Devers, at the age of 22, went 6-6 in the game that led Boston to ahistoric series 7-6 victory over the Indians on Tuesday. Devers became the first player in MLB history to record 6 or more hits, including 4 doubles. The last player to go 6-6 was Christian Yelich last season. Wednesday turned to be pretty special as well. Xander Bogaerts hit his 100th and 101th career home runs on Wednesday afternoon, helping the Red Sox beat Cleveland 5-1.

Historic Series for the Red Sox

After losing the final two games to the Angels, the Red Sox headed to Cleveland to take on the Indians. Game one had Eduardo Rodriguez going up against Zach Plesac. Rodriguez, who has been a reliable force in the rotation for Boston, pitched 6 innings, allowing 5 runs on 10 hits. Plesac went 5 innings, allowing 3 runs off of 7 hits. However, the game ended with the Indians walking off with a 6-5 victory in the bottom of the 9th inning. Marcus Walden gave up the game winning home run with no outs to Carlos Santana.

The first part of the historic series began on Tuesday night. With Chris Sale on the mound looking like his old self, it was only a matter of time before strikeout #2,000 of his career occurred. Indians center fielder, Oscar Mercado, was Sale’s 2,000th strikeout. Mercado swung and missed at a slider to end the third inning, and allowed Sale to be the fastest pitcher to reach 2,000 strikeouts. The next historic moment came from Rafael Devers. The 22 year old hit 4 doubles, and went 6-6 in the game. His first hit, a double, came in the first inning, when he ripped a double to left field, allowing Mookie Betts to score. He also managed to raise his batting average to .325 following the game.

The final game of the historic series also had a great moment. In the top of the 3rd inning, Xander Bogaerts hit his 100th home run of his career off of Shane Bieber. In the 7th inning, Bogaerts wasted no time adding onto the 100 home runs, by hitting #101 off of Nick Goody. This allowed the Red Sox to win the game, 5-1.

Gearing Up for the Orioles

After a well deserved off day on Thursday, the Red Sox will be hosting the Orioles. Prior to their series in Boston, Baltimore was in New York playing against the AL East leading New York Yankees. Unfortunately for the Orioles, they were swept 4-0 against the Yankees, falling to a record of 39-82.

They’ll be sending Aaron Brooks to the mound to face Rick Porcello in the first game. Brooks last pitched against Boston on April 30th, where he went 4.1 innings, allowing 6 hits and 5 runs. Rick Porcello is looking for win #11 of the season after taking the loss against the Angels this past weekend.

Game two will feature Asher Wojciechowski and Eduardo Rodriguez. The final game of the series on Sunday afternoon doesn’t have starting pitchers named yet for either team. After this series, the next time the Orioles play the Red Sox is the final series of the regular season from September 17th to September 29th in Boston.

Harper and the Phillies Come to Town

After another long off season, Bryce Harper signed a mega 13-year, $330 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies. This allowed him to stay in the National League East, after playing the first 7 years of his career with the Washington Nationals. This will be the first time the Red Sox will be playing against the new look Phillies, as they also added JT Realmuto and Andrew McCutchen to their roster in the offseason.

The Phillies are currently 62-58, and are in 3rd place in the NL East. Before they come to Boston on Tuesday, they will be hosting the San Diego Padres at Citizens Bank Park in Philadephia. The Red Sox will be playing there from September 14th to September 15th.

Phillies Acquisitions Will Make for a Tight NL East Finish

The Phillies had already won the off-season before the fateful day of February 28. That’s when news broke that they acquired the transcendent talent known as Bryce Harper. Signing the right fielder to a mega deal (13 years, $330 million) was a bold move by the Philadelphia brass. However, many other Phillies acquisitions have the club in position to take control of what suddenly has become a very competitive division.

Phillies acquisitions: The outfield

Bryce Harper: Despite a down year in 2018, Harper, along with Manny Machado, were the Phillies Acquisitionsprized possessions on the free market this winter. With talk about nine digit baseball contracts, the Las Vegas native had the chance to break the bank. It didn’t come until Spring training began, but it was worth waiting for. Harper, temporarily, was awarded the largest free agent contract in American sports history. If he can give the Phillies close to his 2015 MVP season production, the deal will pay for itself. If he is pedestrian (if .249/.393/.496 is pedestrian), then it’ll take more than Harper to vaunt the Phillies into first place.

Andrew McCutchen: Once one of the game’s brightest stars, McCutchen’s value has diminshed in recent seasons. However, despite a drop off in runs batted in, the former Pirate posted close to his career averages across many categories in 2018. Standing out among them was a .792 OPS, 30 doubles, and a near-career high 95 walks. However, his strikeout numbers are soaring, he’s on the wrong side of 30, and is relegated to the corner outfield positions. But there’s no doubt his value as a veteran presence around a relatively young Philadelphia team is a welcomed sight.

Phillies Acquisitions: The Infield

J.T. Realmuto: The Phillies acquired arguably the game’s best catcher in 2018, a first-time all-star and silver slugger award winner. Over just 125 games, Realmuto set career highs in runs (74), home runs (21), RBI (74), and OPS (.825). The backstop long ago requested a trade from the Miami Marlins, after team president Derek Jeter decided to fire sale most of the talent off the club. Without Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, and Marcell Ozuna, Realmuto was stuck on a hopeless squad. Now, he’s in position to contend.

Jean Segura: Widely considered one of the game’s most underrated talents, Segura, 29, is already on the fifth different team of his career. He previously had time with the Angels, Brewers, Diamondbacks, and most recently, the Mariners. The Dominican-born product has seen success everywhere he has played, and has two all-star appearances under his belt (2013, 2018). While a .766 OPS over the last two seasons is nothing spectacular, he has consistently been above-league average offensively. According to Fangraphs, only four shortstops have posted a higher wRC+ than Segura’s 117 over the past three seasons, and only six have produced more WAR.

Phillies Acquisitions: The Bullpen

David Robertson: A stellar 2017 season put Robertson on the upper echelon of late inning relievers. 2018 slowed down that narrative. A 3.23 ERA is a sizable regression from 1.82. But Robertson has been a rock throughout his 11-year career, logging over 60 innings pitched in each of his last 9 seasons. He brings closing experience to a club with a cavalry of veteran arms. He figures to be a key part of the division’s strongest bullpen.

Given the major talent overhaul in the city of brotherly love, do not be surprised to see the Phillies make a big jump in 2019. But they’ll have to get through talented squads in Washington, Atlanta, and New York to do so.

Mookie Betts Part of Future Success for Boston Red Sox

Mookie BettsWhether it is via a trade or playing in the outfield, Mookie Betts is poised to be part of the success of the Boston Red Sox over the offseason and moving forward.

The 21-year-old has held his own this season with a .285 average to go along with 14 extra-base hits, including eight doubles an five home runs, in 165 at-bats. He has also stolen six bases in nine attempts. Sure, he has had some stretches in which he has trouble with patience at the plate, but he has kept composure in a lost season for the Red Sox.

In the field, he has shown that changing positions has not affected him as he has made some great reads in center while also playing eight somewhat successful games at second. He has just two errors combined in 45 games (44 started) this season. While he does not have a long-term spot at second, the Red Sox have a chance this offseason to make sure he does have a spot either on this team or as a part of a big picture deal in a trade for a front-line starter or a power bat.

Betts has shown versatility, which benefits the Red Sox and other teams. If injuries occur, then he could slip right in for any outfield spot while also sliding into second in a pinch.

Not only that, but he has a quality combination of speed and power that has been the norm for recent players success. Players like Andrew McCuthchen, Mike Trout, Yasiel Puig and even Carlos Gomez all have shown to have power and speed in their repertoires. However, Betts might not be as powerful or fast as any of these players. He might not pan out and could be a one-and-done player, but taking a chance on him might be the best option for the Red Sox mobing forward.

If the Red Sox decide to sell high on the prospect, then they need to get something that improves this team now. It could be Giancarlo Stanton or even a Chris Sale, but, whatever the Red Sox decide to deal for this offseason, Betts is a candidate to be in the deals.

Betts has shown that he can play at a high level and that can benefit the Red Sox in multiple ways. But I say trade him before he fizzles out.