Champs Playing Themselves Into Unfamiliar Territory

Off to their worst 25-game start since 1996, seeing the champs playing themselves into unfamiliar territory is a little more than concerning. As we know, the Red Sox have won 4 World Series championships in the last 15 years. From 1967-’82, the Sox put together 16 consecutive winning seasons, and 14 more from 1998-2011, Since the inauguration of the AL East in 1969, Boston has won the division in three consecutive seasons just once. That accomplishment came to fruition last year in 2018, as the team won AL East titles from 2016-’18. Plain and simple, the Red Sox don’t like losing.

Since 1967, which is regarded as the “Impossible Dream Team” season of the franchise,champs playing Boston’s longest stretch of consecutive losing seasons is just 3, from 1992-’94. In ’92, they went 73-89. A year later, 80-82, and 54-61 in ’94 (the lockout shortened the 1994 season to 115 games). In 2012, after the team changed managers from Terry Francona to Bobby Valentine, the team finished in last place with a 69-93 record. Through Boston’s first 25 games that season, they had 11 wins, which is one more than this year’s 10.

In 2014, a year removed from winning their 8th World Series, the Sox finished last again with a 71-91 record. The following season resulted in consecutive last place finishes in the AL East (78-84). It was the first time the Sox finished in last place in consecutive seasons in the history of the AL East.

So, can they still turn it around?

I believe they can salvage a 90-win season, but it’ll be tough. In 2010 and ’11, they started 11-14 each year. They missed the playoffs, but not by much. They reached 89 wins in ’10 and 90 wins in ’11. The Sox had a chance to make the postseason on the last day of the season in 2011, but a loss to the then last place Orioles had them ousted.

The Sox swept the Rays on the road last weekend and came home to play the Tigers on Monday, which began a 10-game home stand. Monday’s game was washed out by rain. Boston responded, discouragingly, with back-to-back losses in Tuesday’s double header. They won last night in impressive fashion, 11-4. The series finale is tonight. I believe if they win tonight, and split the series, it would be a huge win.

Champs Playing A Tough Schedule In May

They begin a tough 3-game set with Tampa Bay on Friday, where they will have to face Charlie Morton and Tyler Glasnow on the mound, again. April has clearly been a lost month for the Sox. They begin May with one game at home against the A’s. They will have to face Seattle, Colorado, Houston twice, the Indians, and the Yankees all in May. Things do not get any easier.

Portland Sea Dogs Win Home Opener Over Fightin Phils 4-2

Portland Sea Dogs

Jonathan Aro pitched three shutout innings in relief of Luis Diaz to earn the win and Keury De La Cruz got the scoring started with a 3-run home run in the bottom of the first inning, propelling the Portland Sea Dogs to a 4-2 Opening Day victory on Saturday against the Reading Fightin Phils.

After guaranteeing baseball would be played at Hadlock Field for Opening Day Portland Sea Dogson Thursday, April 9, the Portland Sea Dogs were forced to push back their home opener two days because of inclement weather. Fans who had tickets for the April 9 contest will receive two tickets for future games.

Sea Dogs’ third baseman, Mike Miller, led off the bottom of the first with a single to center field, and second baseman, Carlos Asuaje, followed with a nine pitch walk. After Henry Ramos popped out to Phil’s third baseman, Gustavo Pierre, Keury De La Cruz drilled a hanging breaking ball to right field for a three-run home run off Reading’s starter and MLB.com’s 38th ranked prospect, Aaron Nola.

Portland would add their fourth and final run of the contest in the bottom of the second inning. After first baseman, Jantzen Witte, drilled a two-out double to left field, Mike Miller hit a line drive single to left field to drive him in.

Boston’s 28th top prospect, according to SoxProspects.com, Luis Diaz, who turned 23 years old on April 9, got the start for Portland and performed well pitching four innings while allowing two runs on five hits and a walk. Jonathan Aro came out of the bullpen in relief and pitched three shutout innings, allowing a hit and a walk, while striking out one, en route to his first win of the season.

Due to the inclement weather postponing Thursday and Friday’s attempts to open the season, this game was played as part of a single admission double-header on Saturday, with both contests scheduled for seven innings. The Sea Dogs dropped the second game to Reading by a score of 9-0 to split the twinbill.

Are Double Headers Disadvantageous?

Double Headers

Photo: The Mets have been snowed out twice/AP Jack Dempsey

On June 8 the Boston Red Sox took on the Los Angeles Angels times two due to a rainout June 7. Los Angeles won the first game (9-5), and the Red Sox won the second (7-2). I can’t believe double headers used to be scheduled for baseball organizations to increase their revenue.  In my opinion, it’s just not healthy for players to go out on the field for that length of time in one day. I know they are professionals, but they are also only humans just like you and I. I think it’s too much to ask of them, to do their best and play their all for 18 plus straight innings. So, to answer the question, “are double headers disadvantageous?” I say yes; especially if the guys have to travel and play a game the next day. It’s definitely overworking them although, back in the day, late 1800’s and early 1900’s, starting pitchers used to pitch 18 straight innings without a hitch. (When bullpens were used infrequently) To top it off, there were pitchers that used to complete both games with victories, Ray Collins (1914), for instance, of the Red Sox, and Carl Mays (1918).

In any case, I’m all about health and I worry about not only the Boston Red Sox, but also players on other teams. We want to see a ball game, not a bunch of lethargic ballplayers go out and pretend to be conscious. I’m glad double headers are not scheduled as they were 21 years ago, and they are only used in unruly situations such as the search for the Boston Marathon suspects and rainouts or snow because just like you and I, those guys need their time off to recharge their batteries and to put forth a good show.

I know there are many out there who would disagree with me. In fact, there is contemplation among the organization to bring back scheduled double headers, again, to maximize revenue. I guess I would like to ask you, as fans, your opinion on the double header situation. “Are double headers disadvantageous?”