Red Sox Struggles Continue: Shutout Two Nights In A Row

FRANKLIN, Mass. – When Matt Chapman clobbered an 89 MPH fastball off Chris Sale with one out in the top of the first inning last night, Red Sox Nation cringed. The ball did not have much loft to it. Right off the bat, I thought the ball had a chance at staying in the yard. But as it kept carrying, and as I saw the left-center field fence only 367 feet away, my doubts sunk in, and a split-second later, a Red Sox starter had given up its 12th home run. As Chapman rounded the bases, one thought crept into my head: the Red Sox struggles continue.

However, to everyone’s surprise, the Sox pitched phenomenally the rest of the way. SaleRed Sox Struggles Continue pitched 6 innings, walked two, and allowed only two more hits, one of which was an infield single and the other a single to center. He threw 87 total pitches. The Sox only had to tax two relievers as well, Brandon Workman and Ryan Brasier. Workman pitched the 7th and Brasier pitched the 8th; both of them did not allow a run.

Where Boston struggled in this one was at the plate. More specifically, failing to capitalize when runners were in scoring position. Hitters went 0-7 with runners in scoring position (RISP). Mookie Betts reached second base after doubling off Mike Fiers in the 3rd with two outs. Andrew Benintendi then grounded to second to end the inning.

To lead off the 4th, Rafael Devers singled to right-center field. J.D. Martinez and Xander Bogaerts followed with two consecutive flyouts. Devers could not tag up to advance from first base. Mitch Moreland, next up, singled to right field. Devers rounded second and reached third base. Brock Holt then grounded out to end the frame.

In the top of the 6th, Benintendi recorded Boston’s fifth hit of the evening with an infield single. Subsequently, he stole second. Two batters later, Martinez was able to move Benintendi to third. Following that, with two outs, Bogaerts struck out swinging.

An inning later, Christian Vazquez also reached third base, after a double and a stolen base. To end the inning, Jackie Bradley Jr. struck out swinging. My thinking: the Red Sox struggles continue.

Laureano Again?!

Bogaerts came to the plate in the 9th with one out. He launched a deep fly ball to center field. Oakland outfielder Ramon Laureano, who gunned down Bogaerts at home plate the night before, went up for the catch, but missed. The ball ricochetted off the wall and rolled back onto the outfield grass. Laureano picked up the ball and threw a one-hop dart to Chapman at third base. Chapman caught it cleanly, slapped his glove down on Bogaerts’ side, and the call was ‘out’!

From there, even with Moreland coming to the plate, the life had been sucked out of the Red Sox. Holt eventually struck out to end the game.

Alex Cora frustrated, but still satisfied

“Right now nothing’s going our way,” the Sox manager was quoted as saying on NESN.com. “Honestly, after tonight, I feel better. I feel better because it was a game. 1-0, we had a chance. We competed. … I know what the record is, but honestly I can go home and get some sleep.”

The Sox have now lost four games in a row. Almost a full week into the 2019 season, they find themselves solidified into last place in the AL East.

The Red Sox struggles continue into tonight’s third game out of four against the A’s. First pitch is at 10:07 PM/ET.

Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez: The New Bash Brothers

Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez are leading the American League in home runs with fifteen each as of May 20th. Betts is a serious 2018 MVP candidate. Martinez is proving to be worth every penny of his $110 million salary so far this season. The way Betts and Martinez are hitting home runs reminds older fans of another hitting duo of the 1980s: the Oakland A’s Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire. Their home run totals led the media to dub them the Bash Brothers. Now, thirty years later and 3,108 miles to the east, Betts and Martinez are emerging as the new bash brothers.

The New Bash Brothers Are Following the Original Duo

Red Sox fans can take stock in this title, especially if they look at the parallels between thenew bash brothers A’s of the 1980s and Red Sox of today. Canseco and McGwire hit over 200 home runs combined between 1988 and 1990. Canseco was named American League Most Valuable Player in 1988 after hitting .307 and 42 home runs with 124 RBIs. He also became the first major leaguer to hit 40 home runs and steal 40 bases in a season. Meanwhile, McGwire hit 49, 32, 33, and 39 home runs in his first four full seasons in the Majors between 1987 and 1990. Canseco and McGwire also led the A’s to a World Series championship in 1989. The parallels between the original Bash Brothers and Betts and Martinez are hard to miss.

The New Bash Brothers Are Just Beginning

While Betts and Martinez have been around for a few seasons now, uniting in Boston is giving the Boston faithful a lot to be hopeful about. Like McGwire before him, Martinez is on pace for a 50+ home run season. Like Canseco before him, Betts is a leading candidate for the MVP award. If history is any indicator of how this season will end for the Red Sox, then fans can certainly look forward to seeing Boston in the post-season.