West Coast Problems: Sox Stuck With Struggling

The Red Sox could not hold their lead after scoring the first 3 runs in yesterday’s game. Making his second start of the season was Eduardo Rodriguez, and for the second consecutive start, Rodriguez looked awful. In his first outing in Seattle last Saturday, E-Rod could not make it out of the 4th inning, as he allowed 8 hits, 6 runs (5 earned), a home run, and 3 walks on 105 pitches. Yesterday, the left-hander could not make it out of the 3rd. He again allowed 8 hits, 6 runs (all earned), a home run, and 3 walks. He threw just 84 pitches and, with the loss, his record now stands at 0-2. The Sox west coast problems have been a combination of mental mistakes, poor pitching, and poor teamplay.

West Coast Problems: Cora at the forefront

“I pay attention to details,” manager Alex Cora told nbcsportsboston.com. “I love payingWest Coast Problems attention to details and that’s something I took pride [in] last year. And right now, we’re not paying attention to details. So that’s on me. That’s on the staff.”

There were several examples of unacceptable decision making from the entire series, but especially from yesterday’s loss. In the 4th inning, Rodriguez allowed a RBI double to Robbie Grossman that gave Oakland a 4-3 lead. Marcus Semien then flied out to center for the inning’s second out. Stephen Piscotty then came to the plate. After hitting a 3-run bomb in his previous at-bat, Piscotty sent a flyball towards the right-center warning track. A miscommunication occurred between two Gold Glove outfielders, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts. The ball landed between them and hopped over the wall for a two-run, ground rule double. 6-3, Oakland.

West Coast Problems: Laureano for sure

Later in the game, in the 9th inning, the Sox found themselves down 7-3. Betts had reached first base on a walk. Andrew Benintendi subsequently sent a blooper to short-center field that dropped between Ramon Laureano and Semien. Betts aggressively rounded second and headed towards third, only to be thrown out by Laureano for his third outfield assist of the series. The Red Sox could of had runners on first and second with no outs. Instead, Benintendi was stuck at first with one out. The game ended two batters later.

Red Sox starting pitching this season looks like this: 0-5, 8.44 ERA, 13 home runs allowed, and a .301 BAA. Opponents have compiled a 1.052 OPS. Just to compare apples to apples, here is what the current division leader, Tampa Bay Rays, starting pitching looks like: 4-1, 2.19 ERA, 5 home runs allowed, a .190 BAA and a .570 OPS.

The Sox will attempt to ease the pain of their west coast problems as they play Arizona next starting tonight. Things do not get easier for Boston’s starters, as the team heads into the final series before returning to Fenway for the home opener on Tuesday. The Diamondbacks rank second in runs, home runs, and RBI in the National League through 7 games. They rank first in hits, doubles, and total bases.

Something that is not seen in the box score is how a team cooperates together from a visual perspective. One note I wanted to hit on is what Red Sox Nation knows as the ‘jump hug’ between Brock Holt and J.D. Martinez. Every time Martinez homers, Holt greets him in the dugout with a childlike, inseparable hug and the two jump together to celebrate. The tradition has lasted for about a full year now. I understand that baseball is full of quirky rituals and superstitions, but my question is, why are two grown men celebrating over one sequence when, overall, the team is in flux and in last place? It’s something that has been bugging me.

Boston’s record stands at 2-6 through their first two series. It is their worst start to a begin a season since 2011 when the team started 1-7 under former manager Terry Francona.

Exceptional Pitching by Buchholz at Monday’s Home Opener

home opener

Thanks to the exceptional pitching of Clay Buchholz and the mighty bat of Daniel Nava, the Red Sox were victorious during their home opener.

The game against the Baltimore Orioles was a battle of two strong pitchers, Wei-Yin Chen and our own Clay Buchholz. Not until the 7th inning did the skies open up with hot bats by Dustin Pedroia, Mike Napoli, and finally a home run by Daniel Nava. Three runs were scored and summer came to this great city of champions, again!

Since pitching went so well for Buchholz, we were able to take a longer look at the likes of Andrew Bailey and Joel Hanrahan; checking out their stylings to see how they may perform if needed in the future. It seems there was a one-two punch with our closers during this game. I wonder if this trend will continue throughout the season. I like it. It allows the bullpen to play as a team. This is an interesting closing strategy. Who knows what John Farrelll has under his sleeve regarding the orchestration of pitching for this ball club?

Nava and Middlebrooks are truly showing themselves as forces with which to be reckoned; a possible dynamic duo. During the last two games they have been big producers.  I was not a big Nava fan to begin with, but now I am. Call me a fair-weather Johnson, if you wish, but I believe I will prove myself more than such. During Spring Training, I thought there was a lot of hype about them. You can’t argue with the performance, run production, and numbers they put up during each game.

A great start to the home stand season, I hope the trend continues. I was pleased to see the celebration of the 60th anniversary year of the Jimmy Fund with children galore on the field before and during the game.

There is nothing more precious than viewing the game of baseball through a child’s eyes.

How do you think we did yesterday? What are your thoughts on the home opener?