Weekend Series in Philadelphia Begins Now

The Red Sox will face the Philadelphia Phillies in a rare two game weekend series at Citizens Bank Park. Prior to the Red Sox’s arrival, Philly hosted the first place Atlanta Braves. Like the Red Sox, Philly’s season hasn’t been too great. A favorite to win their division, they’re in fourth place in the NL East. At 76-70, the Phillies are two games back of the National League Wild Card.

Last time Boston faced Philadelphia was last month. Philly took both games from Bostonweekend series at Fenway Park, and they look to do it again during this weekend series. After a rough trip to Toronto, the Red Sox look to take both games at Citizens Bank Park. This weekend series will either make or break the Red Sox. Only time can tell how it will turn out.

The Weekend Series Matchup

The first game begins Saturday night, with Eduardo Rodriguez going up against Aaron Nola. This will be Rodriguez’s first time facing the Phillies this season. Last time out for him resulted in a loss to the Yankees. Rodriguez went six innings, allowing five hits and one run. When the Philles came to Boston, Nola started the first game. He got the win, going seven innings, allowing two runs off of four hits. The Red Sox look to have better success against Nola in game one of the weekend series.

The final game of the weekend series has Rick Porcello taking on Jason Vargas in a Sunday afternoon matchup. Porcello was the starter in game two when Philly came to Boston last month. He took the loss, going five innings, and allowing three runs off of three hits. This will be Vargas’ first time facing the Red Sox this season.

On A Positive Note…

Despite going 1-2 against the Toronto Blue Jays, a Red Sox favorite achieved a major milestone. On Thursday night, Xander Bogaerts became the second shortstop in MLB history to hit 50 doubles and 30 home runs in a season. The last shortstop to accomplish that feat was Alex Rodriguez during the 1996 season as a member of the Seattle Mariners. The last Red Sox player to have 50 doubles and 30 home runs was David Ortiz in 2007. Rafael Devers is one home run shy of having a 50-30 season as well.

The nominations for the Roberto Clemente Award came out on Thursday as well. Red Sox utility player, Brock Holt, was nominated for the award for the fourth time.  The Roberto Clemente Award is to recognize a player who represents the game through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions. Holt was nominated for the award based on his work with the Jimmy Fund. Fans can vote for Holt on MLB’s website here.

Looking Ahead

Following their weekend series, the Red Sox host the San Francisco Giants. The series begins on Tuesday, and Red Sox Nation will be looking at a different Yastrzemski in left field. Carl Yastrzemski’s grandson, Mike, will be making his Fenway debut in a Giants uniform. For Red Sox fans looking to see Pablo Sandoval back at Fenway, they’re going to have to wait. The third baseman recently underwent Tommy John surgery. Sandoval was a member of the Red Sox from 2015-2017. He signed a five year deal with Boston during the 2014 offseason after winning his third World Series as a member of the Giants.

Pumpsie Green Leaves Lasting Legacy

 Elijah “Pumpsie” Green’s Baseball-reference page won’t garner any special attention. He won’t ever have his number on the right field facade at Fenway Park or a plaque in Cooperstown. After his death on Wednesday, however, there is something Green will always have. Pumpsie Green leaves a lasting legacy with the Boston Red Sox. 

This Sunday, July 21, will mark the 60th anniversary of Green’s major league debut. Likepumpsie green leaves the rest of his career, it was nothing special on the field. He came in to run for Vic Wertz in the eighth inning and finished the game at shortstop in a 2-1 loss to the eventual American League champion White Sox. Green had made his mark, however, as the first black player ever to play for the Red Sox.

Now often the answer to a trivia question Red Sox fans might like to forget, Green helped the Red Sox become the final MLB team to integrate. The Red Sox obviously didn’t have the most polished past when it comes to race relations. They did, in fact, pass up on Hall of Famers Willie Mays and Jackie Robinson over a decade earlier. I don’t think it’s because they weren’t good enough. While Green’s debut came 18 months after Willie O’Ree broke the NHL color barrier for the Bruins, two other MLB teams integrated over 10 years after Jackie Robinson debuted for the Dodgers. 

Green’s contributions to the sports landscape of Boston could not have come at a better time. The aforementioned O’Ree was a pioneer with the Bruins and the Celtics were beginning to spark a dynasty with notable black stars Sam Jones and Bill Russell. With the “old town team” being the last in the city to have a black player, it represented a crucial point for Boston to move forward in race relations, although it would take some time. Suddenly, pictures in the paper of the young shortstop talking with the great Ted Williams were easing the minds of Boston baseball fans.

Pumpsie Green After Baseball

After his brief career, he served as a baseball coach and teacher in Berkeley, California for 20 years. The Red Sox honored him by having him throwing out a first pitch in 2009 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of breaking the team’s color barrier. He threw out another first pitch on Jackie Robinson Day in 2012. To commemorate his achievement, the Red Sox enshrined him in their Hall of Fame last May. He was also honored in his adopted home of El Cerrito, California, for “distinguished stature in baseball history.”

Considering the love and adoration black sports stars in the city get today, it seems odd that a player such as Green would be the trailblazer. He played just four years in his major league career and hit a mere .246. In fact, his baseball-reference similarity score is akin to that of Blake Swihart’s. There would have still been a Jim Rice, a Pedro Martinez and a David Ortiz in a Red Sox uniform, but someone had to be the first.

What Green did was forage a relationship between black Bostonians and the city’s favorite team. Was he the greatest Red Sock of all time? No. Was he one of the most important? Yes. Even now that he is gone, the Green family and the Red Sox family can forever look back on that July afternoon at Comiskey Park and be proud. He was 85.

No Late Inning Heroics As Sox Fall To The Rangers

A day after news of David Ortiz’s shooting came out, the Red Sox hosted the Texas Rangers. Prior to the game, the Red Sox honored Ortiz with a moment of silence. Both fans and players reflected on Ortiz, and wished him a speedy recovery. Fans were looking for a win for Papi. However, the game didn’t end with any late inning heroics. The Red Sox didn’t show their inner “Big Papi” as they lost in extra innings to the Rangers.

Down 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth, Brock Holt’s single scored Michael Chavis to scorelate inning heroics the tying run. The Red Sox had multiple chances to win the game, however, nothing came of those chances. With Ryan Braiser on the mound the hopes of a win faded as the Rangers won 4-3 in eleven innings.

The Red Sox Respond Following Ortiz News

Sunday night sent shockwaves through Red Sox Nation. David Ortiz was shot in his hometown in the Dominican Republic. Ortiz, who is in stable condition following the shooting, was flown to Boston. Red Sox President Sam Kennedy told reporters that the Red Sox are bringing Ortiz to Boston for further medical treatment.

Players, coaches, and former players were all in shock. Alex Cora and Jason Varitek spoke to the press about Ortiz. Both of them spoke highly of Ortiz, and wished him a full recovery. By watching them speak, one can see their concern for Ortiz. The reaction and response from around MLB shows that this is more than just a game. Baseball truly is a community.

Holt’s Late Inning Heroics Couldn’t Pull The Sox To Victory

This game saw the match up of Chris Sale and Mike Minor. Sale, coming off a great start in his last outing in Kansas City, was looking for win number three. Minor, who has been known as the Red Sox’s punching bag, was looking for win number six.

Right off the bat, things were looking up for Boston. With one out in the first, Andrew Benintendi hit a two run home run. This allowed Sale to have a comfortable lead right away. Sale went seven innings, allowing one run and striking out ten. The Sox lined up the win. Brandon Workman pitched a solid eighth inning. Matt Barnes, however, allowed two runs to score. This put the Rangers up 3-2.

In the bottom of the ninth, Shawn Kelley allowed Chavis to reach base by walking him. With two outs in the inning, Brock Holt’s late inning heroics scored Chavis with a single. Holt would be the final out of the inning after being tagged out at home.

Even with the bases loaded in the bottom of the tenth, the Red Sox batters couldn’t spark any late inning heroics. Benintendi stuck out, and Xander Bogaerts lined out to the center fielder. This brought the game to the eleventh, and brought Ryan Braiser into the game.

Braiser’s first batter, Danny Santana ripped a double to right field. Santana, who has been a thorn in the Red Sox’s side the whole game, would later score. Elvis Andrus singled later in the eleventh, scoring Santana. The bottom of the inning saw Chris Martin, the Rangers closer come in. Unfortunately, the Boston bats remained silent.

The Aftermath of the Game

As the game was coming to a close, media outlets reported that David Ortiz had landed at Logan Airport. Ortiz was transported to Massachusetts General Hospital where his care will continue.

The Red Sox announced that the Game 2 starter will be Darwinzon Hernandez who will make his first major league start. The last time he played in the big leagues was against the Tigers back on April 23rd. Hernandez went 2.1 innings, allowing four hits and striking out four.

The Red Sox also announced that Wednesday’s game will be at 4pm so that fans can watch Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals that will be taking place at TD Garden. Boston fans are looking for a double win on Wednesday. Go Red Sox and Go Bruins!

J.D. Martinez is Turning Into One of Boston’s Best Signings Ever

In November of 2015, David Ortiz announced that the 2016 season would be his last. The long and treasured career of Boston’s beloved designated hitter will forever hold a special place in the hearts of Red Sox Nation, and his retirement left the Red Sox in a very unfamiliar position. For the first time since Ortiz joined the lineup in the 2003 season, the Sox were without a trusted power bat. The 2017 season gave us no answers, with Boston finishing 27th in home runs and 26th in slugging percentage. Now, a little over a quarter of the way through 2018, I think we have an answer. His name is J.D. Martinez, signed to a five-year, $110 million contract this past offseason. Not only has he answered this question, but J.D. Martinez has emerged as one of the best free agent signings in Red Sox history.

I know it’s still early. Martinez is not even halfway through his first season with the Red J.D. MartinezSox, and this could be premature. But I’ll let the numbers speak for themselves. In 46 games, Martinez ranks second in the MLB in home runs (15), runs batted in (41), slugging percentage (.674), and OPS (1.073). He would lead the American League in batting average, slugging percentage, and home runs if it weren’t for teammate Mookie Betts.

J.D. Martinez In Comparison

Looking back on Boston’s major free agent signings, the track record is less than ideal. And failing to produce or live up to expectations in Boston is a proven formula for failure. Names like Pablo Sandoval, Carl Crawford, and Adrian Gonzalez come to mind.

I don’t need to go into detail on Sandoval, as that disaster is still fresh in the minds of this city. You may have managed to erase Carl Crawford from your memory by now. But let’s not forget his 7-year, $142 million monster of a contract that gave Boston fans so much hope after years of dealing with him in Tampa Bay. And now? Among the biggest busts in the history of the Red Sox. Adrian Gonzalez actually played well in his one full season with the Red Sox, but never quite fulfilled the expectations surrounding him. The list goes on and on. John Lackey, Rusney Castillo, and Josh Beckett join the list of players that never quite lived up to their price tag. Quick note of appreciation to the Los Angeles Dodgers for liberating us from Crawford, Gonzalez, and Beckett.

But now it’s time to forget all of that and relish in the present. J.D. Martinez is hitting as well as anyone in the MLB, and is currently on pace to break his home run record for a season. Paired with fellow slugger Mookie Betts atop the Red Sox order, Martinez has found, and embraced, his role in this lineup. And he’s earning every bit of his paycheck.

The formula to succeed as a Boston athlete has become pretty simple over the years. Just do your job. And Martinez is doing it as well as anyone.

Without Ortiz, Red Sox Lost Without a Leader

It’s been nine months since David Ortiz retired from the Red Sox. Since then, his former teammates have done their best to make up for his loss. The Red Sox currently hold first place and might run away with the AL East. But it’s clear to everyone that it’s not the same without Big Papi. Seeing the Red Sox lost without a leader hurts the team. If a clear leader doesn’t emerge soon the Red Sox will be like a battleship without a rudder.

There isn’t anyone on the Red Sox right now who has the qualities of a leader. HanleyRed Sox lost Ramirez can’t lead. Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, and Jackie Bradley Jr. are too young. Chris Sale is too much of a loose cannon. Dustin Pedrioa, despite his leadership qualities,  doesn’t have what he needs to rally his teammates. Pedrioa comes off as being too strict, not knowing when to relax and have fun. Additionally, his response to the post-slide Manny Machado incident in Baltimore last April didn’t win him any friends.

Red Sox Lost Without Ortiz, But How Do You Replace Him?

You don’t.

David Ortiz delivered on and off the field in ways that would intimidate most other ballplayers. He was a clutch hitter who knew how to drive in runs. He knew exactly what words to say in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing. Plus Ortiz knew how to handle himself with grace and agility. Even if Betts, Bogaerts, and Bradley Jr. hit 60 homers and won a bunch of MVPs, they’d still stand in Ortiz’s shadow. They haven’t had the chance to experience what Ortiz endured throughout his career

Red Sox aren’t leaderless. It’s that Ortiz left such a enormous void that no one will fill it for  a long time. The problem is that nothing is collectively taking its place. Fans and players alike notice the vacuum Ortiz’s absence has created and while the standings don’t show it, the lack of enthusiasm at Fenway this season is overwhelming. Red Sox fans are happy to root for the team, but there’s no one who can bring us together like Ortiz could.

The Red Sox Owe Jim Rice More Respect

Jim Rice played his entire career with the Boston Red Sox from 1974 to 1989. He was an 8-time All-Star and American League MVP in 1978. After years of waiting, Rice finally received induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2009 in his final year of eligibility. Some argue that Rice isn’t a Hall of Famer because his numbers fall just below the unofficial standard. Others argue Rice’s induction took too long and his numbers prove his worth. Regardless of what you might think, the Red Sox owe Jim Rice more respect, especially after retiring so many other numbers in the last three years.

The Red Sox used to have three rules to retire a number. 1) Play ten years with the RedRed Sox Owe Jim Rice Sox. 2) Retire as a Red Sox player. 3) Be in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Jim Rice is one of the few players who actually fulfilled all three requirements. In fact, he was the last to fulfill all those requirements. Since then they’ve retired Pedro Martinez, Wade Boggs, and David Ortiz’s jersey numbers. None of those three players fulfilled the requirements.

I’m not saying that there’s a retired number that doesn’t belong up there. But why did Jim Rice have to wait so long while other players got ushered to the front of the line? Few other players hustled harder than Rice did. It’s easy to look at his numbers and say that they’re good but not great. But it’s impossible to quantify Rice’s contributions to the game. He helped lead the Red Sox to the World Series in 1975 (an injury kept him out of play) and also in 1986. Additionally, Rice is one of only two players to lead the American League in both triples and home runs in one season. On top of that, he is still the only player who has ever led the majors in triples, home runs and RBIs in the same season.

Red Sox Owe Jim Rice An Apology

The fact that Jim Rice waited so long to see his number retired while others didn’t is becoming the white elephant in the room. While you can argue that players like Ted Williams and Joe Cronin waited too, the Red Sox didn’t actually start retiring numbers until 1984, and their numbers were among the first to get retired.

Jim Rice paid his dues. He waited patiently not only to see his number retired, but to get inducted into the Hall of Fame. The Red Sox insulted the man by making him jump hoops. They took those hoops away though from Pedro Martinez, Wade Boggs, and David Ortiz. Boggs jumped ship to the Evil Empire. He even had the nerve to wear his Yankee World Series ring to his ceremony!

Red Sox Owe Jim Rice A Statue Too

At the very least, the Red Sox could erect a statue for Jim Rice. Or they could name something in Fenway after him. No matter what, the Red Sox owe Jim Rice something to make up for the way they shafted him. He stayed loyal to Boston when he could have left for more money.