The Stage Has Been Set for the Championship Series

It’s hard not to watch the postseason, even though the Red Sox are not in it. This postseason had two teams looking for their first World Series win, one team looking for their 28th ring, and another looking to win their second. There’s even one team that has never made it this far. That team is the Washington Nationals. After tying up Game 5, they won it thanks to a grand slam off of Joe Kelly in the 10th inning.

The other Game 5’s were quite exciting as well. The Cardinals took care of business rightchampionship series off the bat. Literally. They scored ten runs in the first inning to beat the Braves in Atlanta 13-1. The Cardinals will be looking to get back to the World Series for the first time since 2013. First, they face the Washington Nationals tonight in the NLCS. Houston took down the Tampa Bay Rays last night with a 5-1 final, and will be facing the Yankees tomorrow night in the ALCS.

The Championship Series Begins Tonight

The National League Championship series begins tonight in St. Louis. Anibal Sanchez will go up against Miles Mikolas in the first game of the championship series. Last time out for Sanchez was on October 6th in which he pitched five innings only allowing one run off of four hits against the Dodgers. Mikolas last pitched against the Braves on October 7th, where he earned the win in the game while pitching in relief.

Game two of the National League Championship Series will be on Saturday afternoon prior to the American League Championship Series. The Cardinals will call on veteran Adam Wainwright for the game. The Nationals haven’t named a starter yet for the second game.

The Yankees and Astros start the American League Championship Series on Saturday night in Houston. Neither team has named a started, but this will be a series to watch. While the Astros look to return to the World Series after missing it last season, the Yankees will be looking to make an appearance in the World Series since 2009.

Notable Players in the Championship Series

By notable, I mean soon to be Free Agents. Players who are looking to not only lead their team to a World Series title, but a player who is showcasing himself to teams who may need him. One of those players is Astros catcher, Robinson Chirinos. He played in four of the five ALDS games against the Rays, batting .222 with one home run. In 2019, he hit .238 with 17 home runs and 58 RBI’s while being an everyday player.

Third baseman Anthony Rendon will be known as one of the guys who homered off of Clayton Kershaw in Game 5 of the NLDS. The 29 year old had a great 2019 season, batting .319 with 34 home runs and 126 RBI’s. He was named to his first All Star game this past season, and won the NL Comeback Player of the Year Award in 2016. Another infielder that’s a free agent is Didi Gregorius. The 29 year old shortstop was traded to the Yankees prior to the 2015 season to fill the void left by Derek Jeter. Despite spending time on the injury list, Gregorius hit .238 with 16 home runs and 61 RBI’s in 78 plate appearances. He is batting .400 with a grand slam this postseason.

One name that will sound familiar to Red Sox fans is Daniel Hudson. The 33 year old relief pitcher was acquired by the Nationals at the 2019 trade deadline. Since joining DC’s bullpen, he was 3-0 with a 1.44 ERA in 24 appearances. He also is 1-0 this postseason with a 0.00 ERA in four games. In 3.2 innings, he’s only allowed four hits and struck out five in the postseason.

Dave Dombrowski’s Firing Comes at a Strange Time

Red Sox Nation knew it was coming eventually. However, following the Red Sox’s loss to the Yankees, social media was buzzing. The Red Sox have fired Dave Dombrowski. With about two weeks left, Dave Dombrowski’s firing comes at a strange time. What was the ownership thinking, and what does this mean for everyone else? Now, this also adds onto the offseason list. The Red Sox need to find a new President of Baseball Operations.

When news of Dave Dombrowski’s firing got to the clubhouse, many players wereDave Dombrowski's firing shocked. During the press conference after the game, Alex Cora stated that he was ‘Surprised. I’m shocked, honestly.” Dombrowski hired him to take the reigns of the Red Sox following the 2017 season, which Cora said he was grateful for.

The Timing of Dave Dombrowski’s Firing is Shocking

The Red Sox are 76-67, and just dropped two key games to the Yankees. The bullpen has been a question mark all season long. Now, here we are in September with two key pitchers injured and nobody to take over for them. Also, the trade deadline came and went, with the Red Sox sitting on their hands. This was not a good look for an organization who was trying to make a push for the postseason.

As players were getting ready to leave Fenway Park, many expressed shock and surprise by the news that Cora gave them following the game. When asked about Dave Dombrowski’s firing, players like JD Martinez and Mookie Betts said that they were shocked by the news. As more information rolls in, Red Sox Nation will have a better understanding of the situation.

The Red Sox spokesman, Kevin Gregg said last night that a formal press conference will be held on Monday. From there, hopefully more insight into Dave Dombrowski’s firing will come to light.

What Could Have Led to Dave Dombrowski’s Firing

When Dombrowski came into the organization back in August 2015, he gave us a team that brought us to the postseason three years in a row. In the 2017 off season, he also brought in Alex Cora to take on the role as manager. This past off season, Dombrowski didn’t do much. He allowed Joe Kelly and Craig Kimbrel to walk away. He also signed Nathan Eovaldi and Chris Sale to long term deals. That looked like a good idea at the time, but now Eovaldi is in the bullpen and struggling, while Sale has been out with an elbow injury.

Dombrowski also had a habit of bringing in veteran players via trade. For example, in July 2017, he traded two minor league pitchers for Eduardo Nunez. While Nunez was good for Boston at first, the rest of the time he was injured. Another would be in the 2016 off season, when he traded for Chris Sale. Dombrowski traded four minor leaguers for Sale. While Sale is a dominating pitcher, he is also injury prone. Case and point, he is on the injury list, and was thought to have needed Tommy John surgery.

Dombrowski didn’t allow the farm system to grow properly. He brought in players, and kept players that were not contributing. He was given a role that he just couldn’t handle. That led to this season, and how the Red Sox will not be in the postseason for the first time since 2015.

How Will This Play Out in the Offseason?

The list of things to do for Boston just got longer. On top of everything else, they need to find a new President of Baseball operations and a General Manager. Dombrowski has been filling the role as General Manager for the past few seasons, as well as doing his job. The Red Sox have a lot of work to do come the end of the postseason. This includes fixing the bullpen, and keeping certain free agents.

The next few weeks will be strange inside the walls of Fenway Park. While many were shocked, including I’m sure Dombrowski, many were not. Dave Dombrowski’s firing may have come at a strange time, but it needed to be done eventually.

The Season is Slipping Away, and the Red Sox Keep Sinking

Here we are five days into August, and the 2019 season is slipping away. After being swept by both the Rays and Yankees, the Red Sox keep sinking. They are 59-55, and 14.5 games out of first place. Even the chance to get the other Wild Card spot seems crazy at this point as well. Right now, they are six games out of the Wild Card spot.

They currently have lost eight straight games, something that hasn’t happened since theRed Sox Keep 2015 season, two seasons after they won the World Series in 2013. There is something wrong with this team, and fans are not happy about it. From the front office, to the players, something needs to change. We are closing in on the end of the season. One that people are going to want to forget.

The 2019 Season is Slipping Away With No End in Sight

Literally, there seems to be no end in sight for this season. The 2019 season was one that the Red Sox needed to defend in after winning in 2018. From Spring Training until now, the season is slipping away. Before we know it, the book will be closed on 2019, and the players, management and office staff will be on the golf course. It’s a sad reality, but unfortunately it’s true.

As the season slowly comes to a close, the Red Sox have one more series each with AL East opponents, starting with the Orioles. They are 28-31 against AL East opponents, and 31-24 against the other opponents. Practically every game since the start of the season in Seattle has been a struggle for Boston. Yes, starting off on the West Coast can be tough, but this team didn’t change much in the offseason. The only notable absences are that of Craig Kimbrel and Joe Kelly.

Also, unlike the Yankees and Astros, the team hasn’t had a real serious injury. Yes, Dustin Pedroia is out for the season, and players like Nathan Eovaldi and Steve Pearce have been on the injury list. However, the Yankees have played games without Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, and are 72-39. The Astros have gone without players like Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve, and are 73-40. What’s the Red Sox’s excuse then?

Red Sox Keep Sinking. So When Does Boston Surrender?

Or have they? From the pitching, to the offense, it seems like they have started to surrender the 2019 a while back. It’s a sad reality for a team that has so much talent on it. The one thing that hurt this team the most was the lack of support from the bullpen. So many games were lost due to the inconsistency of the relief pitchers.

It didn’t help that the bats weren’t awake during some of those games as well. For a team that won 108 regular season games last year, this team looks lost. With every loss, especially a close one, the season keeps slipping away.

I’m sure many of them were hoping for some help during the one and only trade deadline, but the front office didn’t make any trades. Now, all we can do is sit, and see what happens next. It has been a tough road for Red Sox Nation as the 2019 season is slipping away.

Coming Up Next For Boston

Rick Porcello gets the ball in game one of the three game set against the Kansas City Royals at Fenway. The Royals, who are 40-73, will be sending Mike Montgomery to the hill on Monday night. One bright spot for the Red Sox is that the Royals are without veteran catcher, Salvador Perez. The 29 year old had Tommy John surgery in March due to a partial tear of the UCL in his right elbow.

After the three game set against the Royals, Mike Trout and the Angels come to Fenway for four games. The Angels are 56-57 coming into Monday. Prior to playing the Red Sox, they will be playing against the Cincinnati Reds for two games at The Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati.

The Start of the Second Half Was All Right

After the All Star break, the Red Sox returned to Fenway, well rested, and ready to go. With the Dodgers and Blue Jays in town for the second half of the season, you’d think that it’d have motivated this team to win both series. However, that wasn’t the case against the hot blue Dodgers. When it came to facing Toronto though, the team woke up.

There are still a lot of unanswered questions in July. The big question is, what will Davesecond half Dombrowski do before the trade deadline? Before the beginning of the season, MLB implemented new guidelines, including only having one trade deadline. The only major move so far was trading for Baltimore Orioles starter, Andrew Cashner.

Before we get into what’s going through Dombrowski and Company’s mind, let’s take a look at the last homestand.

The Highly Anticipated World Series Rematch at Fenway

When MLB released the schedule last season, I doubt that they knew what they were thinking by scheduling the rematch between the Red Sox and Dodgers. Neither team changed too much, which made for a unique series.

Eduardo Rodriguez had the ball in the first game, and absolutely dominated. His record improved to 10-4 on the season after going seven innings, allowing 5 hits and one earned run. E-Rod also struck out ten while allowing two walks. The offense was on fire as well. Rafael Devers, Christian Vasquez and Xander Bogaerts all hit home runs, which propelled the offense to score eight runs.

Game two, however, was a thing of destruction. The man who closed out the World Series, Chris Sale, only lasted 4.2 innings, allowing five runs on seven hits. Despite striking out seven batters, the offense was asleep for the better part of the game. For the Dodgers, the Fenway Faithful got a glimpse of Joe Kelly pitching on the mound in Dodger blue. Kelly pitched one inning of relief, allowing two hits, and one run. The Dodgers took this game, 11-2.

The final game of the series went into extras, and saw the bullpen blow up. In what should have been a Sunday night win for Boston turned into a loss at the hands of David Freese and company. While David Price pitched five solid innings, only allowing one run, the bullpen couldn’t keep it together, even when Boston tied it up in the bottom of the eighth, thanks to back-to-back home runs by Xander Bogaerts and J.D. Martinez. What really stung was when Joe Kelly closed out the bottom of the twelfth inning for the Dodgers.

The Blue Jays Invade Fenway in the Second Half of the Season

After a rough start, Blue Jay Nation came to town, as did Andrew Cashner, the newest member of the Boston rotation. Rick Porcello pitched against the fourth place Blue Jays in game one. Porcello threw six solid innings, only allowing four runs on eight hits. The Red Sox offense went to work early, tagging Blue Jays starter Trent Thornton for five runs in the first inning. Despite the fact that the bullpen allowed six runs in three innings, Porcello got the victory, putting his record at 7-7 on the season.

Andrew Cashner, the newest member of the Red Sox, took the ball in game two. Cashner was pitching in his first game in nine days, and it showed. He went five innings in his Red Sox debut, allowing six runs on eight hits. Despite a first inning home run by Bogaerts, the Red Sox offense was quiet. Jays rookie starter, Jacob Waguespack pitched 4.2 innings, and only allowed the one run in the first inning.

Eduardo Rodriguez, the saving grace of the rotation, took the ball in game three. In 6.1 innings, Rodriguez allowed only two runs off of three hits, while striking out four. Rafael Devers was a contributor in the win by launching his eighteenth home run of the season off of Aaron Sanchez in the third inning. Brandon Workman, who seems to be the savior in the bullpen, earned his fifth save of the season.

In a Thursday afternoon game, Chris Sale had the ball. It should be noted that the real Chris Sale is back. In six innings, Sale only allowed two hits and struck out twelve. The offense tagged Thomas Pannone for four of the five total runs. Both Rafael Devers and Mookie Betts contributed to the runs by launching home runs. Everything seemed to be clicking for Sale in this game, allowing him to get his fourth win of the season, and first at Fenway this season.

First Roadtrip of the Second Half

After going 4-3 in the homestand, the Red Sox head to Baltimore for a three game series, then off to Tropicana Field to take on the second place Tampa Bay Rays. From there, they return home to face the New York Yankees for the first time since the battle in London.

Knowing that we are about a week and a half until the trade deadline, and seeing where we are in the standings, must worry the front office a little bit. With the bullpen seesawing, and the offense slowly picking up speed, a new face in the clubhouse would be a welcoming sign.

The Dodgers Return to Fenway for a World Series Rematch

The last time we saw the Dodgers was game five of the World Series in Los Angeles. It is a game many in Red Sox Nation will never forget. From the stellar performance by David Price, to Steve Pearce’s home run, one of many. Oh, and my personal favorite, when Chris Sale struck out Manny Machado to win it all. Now, here we are, nine months later for the World Series rematch.

While Boston is looking to climb higher in the American League East, the Dodgers areworld series rematch looking to continue their success this season. The Dodgers, who are 60-32 in the National League West, are looking to not only seek revenge on the Red Sox, but look to return to the spotlight in October.

A Highly Anticipated World Series Rematch

As mentioned above, the last time we saw the Dodgers was back in the World Series. October 28th to be exact. While the Red Sox ultimately won it all on the West Coast in game five, you would have thought that they were playing in Boston. The Fenway Faithful came out in full support of the Red Sox that night, and for the parade that followed.

The match up was perfect in every sense. From Alex Cora managing a team in his rookie year, to Dave Roberts managing in Dodger blue, every game was critical. Now, here we are, about to embark on a three game set at Fenway Park. Though it’s not October, it will have an October feel like never before.

Game one will feature Eduardo Rodriguez going up against Kenta Maeda. Rodriguez will be looking for win number ten on the season. The last time Rodriguez faced the Dodgers was at Dodger Stadium in game four. In that start, he went 5.2 innings, allowing four runs, including a home run to Yasiel Puig. Maeda also pitched in that game, going 1/3 of an inning allowing one run on two hits.

Game two will feature Chris Sale vs Ross Stripling, while the finale will feature David Price vs Hyun-Jin Ryu. All three of these games are critical to the Red Sox as they get closer and closer to the trade deadline. Also, after the series against Los Angeles, they will face Toronto for four games before heading to Baltimore.

The Return of Joe Kelly and Rich Hill

Last time we saw Joe Kelly he was in a Red Sox uniform, surrounded by his teammates after winning the World Series. The next time we saw him was on a duck boat in Boston with the World Series trophy. Now, he will be returning to Boston in Dodger blue for a World Series rematch, and receiving his well deserved World Series ring.

Not only did he trade in the red for the blue, but he traded in the number 56 for the number 17. Since signing a three year deal with Los Angeles back in December, Kelly has pitched in 30 games, going 3-3 with a 5.28 ERA. He has pitched in 30.2 innings while striking out 37 batters. The former Red Sox and Cardinal pitcher last pitched on July 6th against the San Diego Padres, pitching one inning and striking out two batters. Unfortunately, neither strikeout was to Manny Machado. Sorry Red Sox fans.

Another familiar face is Rich Hill. The Milton, MA native will be returning to Fenway Park in Dodger blue as well. Hill pitched for his hometown team from 2010-2012, and in 2015. Right now, he is in his fourth season with Los Angeles. Although he isn’t with the Red Sox organization anymore, Hill and his wife are in the process of raising one million dollars for Mass General Hospital to support research for a rare genetic disease that claimed the life of their young son. During the series, the Red Sox organization will be assisting the Hill family with their campaign.

First Homestand of the Second Half

This homestand is crucial for the Red Sox. With the Yankees and Rays tearing it up in the American League East, the Red Sox need to keep their heads above water. Also, we are a few short weeks away from the trade deadline. Last time the Red Sox won the World Series, 2014 saw the team sell most of their rotation. Pitchers such as Jake Peavy and Jon Lester were traded off. From there, the front office kept selling, causing many in Red Sox Nation to panic. Will we see that again this July 31st? Only time can tell.

Carson Smith is Likely Done for the Year

As many of you may recall, Carson Smith was shut down in mid-May after injuring his throwing shoulder. On May 14, Smith surrendered a run to the Oakland Athletics in the eighth inning, putting the A’s up for good, 6-5. As he returned to the dugout, Smith threw his glove in the dugout out of frustration. Boston’s promising reliever hasn’t seen the field since.

Carson Smith’s fit of rage not only left his glove on the dugout floor but the rest of his Carson Smithseason in jeopardy. Until this week, there had not been any medical decision as doctors did not want to rush to any conclusions. Now, about a month after the temper tantrum, the severity of the injury has become clear. On Wednesday, Smith underwent shoulder surgery which likely spells the end of his 2018 season.

The late-inning relief pitcher spent the majority of the previous two seasons recovering from Tommy-John surgery. To begin the 2018 campaign, Smith emerged as a solid option out of a Red Sox bullpen which has had its fair share of struggles this year. But now, the 28-year-old will have yet another season cut staggeringly short because of injury.

Carson Smith Continues to Frustrate

His tenure in Boston has been a frustrating one. The Red Sox acquired Carson Smith from the Seattle Mariners in 2015, trading southpaw Wade Miley and a prospect for Smith and starting pitcher Roenis Elias. He joined the Red Sox after dominating in his first full season, posting a 2.31 ERA and 92 strikeouts out of the Mariners’ bullpen. Smith began his tenure as a promising 26-year-old that would not hit the free-agent market until 2021. To say it has not gone as planned would be an understatement. Through his first three seasons with the Red Sox, Smith has appeared in a mere 29 contests. In those 29 games, he’s pitched in under 25 innings and just underwent his second season-ending surgery in three years.

After a shaky start to the year, the Red Sox’s corps of relievers actually has improved of late. Joe Kelly and Matt Barnes have established themselves as trustworthy late-inning arms to precede the ever-consistent Craig Kimbrel. While the struggles have subsided, Carson Smith’s inability to control his temper has put another significant blemish on his Red Sox tenure and provided yet another test for Boston’s bullpen.