The Red Sox Outfield is Putting on a Defensive Clinic this Season

After Trading Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi and letting Jackie Bradley Jr. walk in free agency it was expected the defense would take a step back. JBJ and Betts won five Gold Glove awards between them with the Sox. Benny was no slouch in the field either. The trio was considered one of the best defensive outfields in baseball when they played together. Without them the consensus was the Red Sox outfield might be a liability this year.

Assisting the Team

Not only has the mishmash of players to suit up in the outfield worked out, but they have also been a major bright spot on a good team. Currently, they lead all of baseball with 28 outfield assists. Since the year 2000, only the Kansas City Royals have reached 50 outfield assists in a single season. They got 51 in back-to-back seasons in 2011 and 2012. To put into perspective how incredible the rate at which Boston has gotten outfield assists, the team currently in second is the Miami Marlins with 19 outfield assists.

The Star Outfielders

Hunter Renfroe has been the biggest catalyst for the uptick in assists this season. He currently leads the league in outfield assists with 11. His career high coming into this season was 13 when he was with the San Diego Padres in 2019. It is safe to say when Chaim Bloom signed him this offseason no one saw this kind of defensive output coming. Another offseason signing that has paid big dividends in the field has been Kike Hernandez. Picked up to be a utility player that can be slotted in pretty much anywhere in the field, Hernandez’s play in center field has been almost too valuable to put anywhere else. He sits at five outfield assists, tied for sixth in the league with Red Sox left fielder Alex Verdugo.

Verdugo himself has quietly played spectacular defense for the last two seasons. Picking up right where the man he was replacing, Mookie Betts, left off. Marwin Gonzalez, Danny Santana, and even J.D. Martinez, who is not known for his defense, have racked up a few assists for themselves. It seems with each passing game the outfield makes some incredible play or throw. The outfield has been elite in the field and teams are beginning to take notice that it isn’t worth trying to take that extra base against the Boston Red Sox outfield.

Boston Sweeps Kansas City To Get To 51 Wins

Stop me if you have heard this before – The Red Sox swept another team and are on a hot streak. Heard it before? Good, because it gets even better. The sweep of Kansas City allowed Boston to get to 51 wins on the season. They are the first team in the American League to accomplish the feat heading into July. The only other teams in Major League baseball with 50 or more wins are the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants.

51 wins

The Red Sox have won six straight games as they head to the west coast to face the Oakland A’s and the Los Angeles Angels. Even at the 50 win mark, the Red Sox need to keep their heads above the water, because the Tampa Bay Rays are only three and a half games in back of them in the standings. Both teams are doing well in the East division as we open a new month of baseball. Theres still plenty of season left, but it’ll be fun to watch.

The First American League Team To Get To 51 wins

After a very long Wednesday night, the Red Sox defeated the Kansas City Royals 6-2. Thanks to JD Martinez’s three run home run in the third, and Martin Perez’s pitching performance, the Red Sox earned the victory, and the 50th of the 2021 season. Following a rain delay, the game got off to a slow start. Salvador Perez hit a solo shot in the second inning to give the Royals the 1-0 lead.

However, after giving up a single to Marwin Gonzalez and walking Kike Hernandez, Mike Minor got a chance to face JD Martinez. With a 1-0 count and two outs in the inning, Martinez blasted his 16th home run of the season to center field. From there, the Red Sox would score three more times, while the Royals would get one more run in. Perez went 5.1 innings to get his 6th win of the season, and the bullpen held down the game to finished it off.

Thursday afternoon’s finale against Kansas City was a slug fest for Boston. Nathan Eovaldi pitched a gem of a game, going seven shut out innings with six strikeouts to get his ninth win of the season. Matt Andriese came in to pitch the final two innings. Kike Hernandez’s first inning home run of of Kris Bubic sparked the Red Sox offense in the game. JD Martinez, Danny Santana and Rafael Devers all hit home runs as well. The final score of Thursday afternoon’s game was 15-1, and it allowed Boston to sweep the Royals. Now, the Red Sox head out west to face a very good Oakland team.

West Coast Road Trip For Boston

The 51-31 Red Sox will get a chance to increase their win total this upcoming series on the west coast. The Oakland A’s, who are 48-35, wrapped up a series against Texas on Thursday prior to welcoming Boston on Friday night. Oakland dropped two games to the Rangers, and look to do better against Boston this weekend. This series will be the second time the Red Sox will face former teammate and 2018 World Series Champion, Mitch Moreland in 2021. The fan favorite first baseman came back to Boston with Oakland back in May. The Red Sox went 1-2 in that series, but look to do better this time around.

Eduardo Rodriguez will look to earn his 7th win of the season when the series opens Friday night. He will be going up against Frankie Montas, who is 7-7 on the season. On Saturday night, Garrett Richards (4-5, 4.96 ERA) will be facing Cole Irvin (6-7, 3.64 ERA). Sunday’s finale will feature Nick Pivetta (6-3, 4.43 ERA) and rookie James Kaprielian (4-2, 3.06 ERA). Boston will then be heading to Angels Stadium for a three game series.

All Star Game Update

Phase two of voting for the 2021 All Star Game closed Thursday afternoon. Four Red Sox players – Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts, JD Martinez, and Alex Verdugo were named to the second round of voting. On Thursday night, it was announced that both Devers and Bogaerts will be starters for the American League All Star Team in Colorado. The reserves will be named by Major League Baseball this weekend. For Devers, this will be his first All Star appearance. The third baseman is having one great season, batting .288 with 20 home runs and 69 RBI’s. This will be Bogaerts’ third All Star selection. He was in the mid-summer classic in 2016 and in 2019.

Joining Devers and Bogaerts in the infield will be Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr and Marcus Semien. Both players were selected for their first All Star appearances. The American League outfield will feature Mike Trout (Angels), Aaron Judge (Yankees) and Teoscar Hernandez (Blue Jays). This will be Trout’s 7th All Star appearance, Judge’s third and Hernandez’s first. Catching for the AL will be six time All Star, Salvador Perez from the Royals. The DH will be the Angels’ Shohei Ohtani (First time All Star).

On the National League side, Buster Posey (Giants) will be making his 5th All Star game as catcher. The Braves first baseman, Freddie Freeman will be making his third appearance. Pittsburgh’s Adam Frazier will be making his first appearance as the NL’s second baseman. Nolan Arenado will be returning to Denver for his 4th All Star Game. Fernando Tatis Jr (Padres), who led the NL in votes, will be making his first All Star Game. The NL outfield will heva Ronald Acuna Jr (Braves), Nick Castellanos (Reds) and Jesse Winker (Reds). Both Castellanos and Winker will be making their first appearance, while this is Acuna Jr’s second.

Opening Day 2020 Has Finally Arrived

Remain calm Red Sox Nation – Opening Day 2020 is finally here! After many months of negotiations, we finally have baseball. The Red Sox open the season against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park starting tonight at 7:30pm. From there, the New York Mets come to town for two games, then the Red Sox head to Citi Field for two games. This is going to be a wild season for sure, but it’ll be interesting to see what happens.

The 2020 Red Sox will look different, there’s no doubt. With Eduardo Rodriguez stillopening day 2020 recovering from COVID-19, Nathan Eovaldi will take the ball tonight. The Red Sox have a pretty solid team, but the pitching will be the mystery of 2020. How will the Red Sox fair on Opening Day 2020? Well, hopefully better than the Nationals and Giants did last night.

Opening Day 2020 vs The Baltimore Orioles

As mentioned above, Nathan Eovaldi will be getting the start for the Red Sox tonight. The Orioles will be sending Tommy Milone to the mound to face the Red Sox. Originally, the Orioles had John Means making the Opening Day start, however, he will be starting the season on the injured list with shoulder fatigue. Both Eovaldi and Milone will be making their first career Opening Day starts. Both had a solid Spring and Summer training prior to the start of the season.

In 23 games for the Red Sox last season, Eovaldi went 2-1 with a 5.99 ERA in 67.2 innings. After a 2019 that saw him on the injured list, Eovaldi is looking to have a better 2020. His last faced the Orioles on September 27th 2019, going 5 innings giving up 5 earned runs while striking out 3. Tommy Milone came to the Orioles via free agency after spending the 2019 season with the Seattle Mariners. In 23 games, he went 4-10 with a 4.76 ERA in 111.2 innings. Milone last faced the Red Sox in 2014 as a member of the Minnesota Twins.

Tomorrow’s 1:35pm game will have Alex Cobb going up against Martin Perez. The Boston native only pitched in 3 games last season, going 0-2 with a 10.95 ERA. Perez will be making his Red Sox debut after pitching for the Minnesota Twins last season. He was 10-7 in 32 games for the Twins with a 5.12 ERA. Sunday’s final game, also at 1:35pm, will feature Wade LeBlanc against Ryan Weber. LeBlanc, who pitched for the Mariners last season, went 6-7 in 26 games while posting a 5.71 ERA. Weber is looking to make a name for himself in the Red Sox rotation. Last season in 18 games, he went 2-4 with a 5.09 ERA

Welcoming Back Rick Porcello and Eduardo Nunez

The Red Sox will be welcoming back Rick Porcello and Eduardo Nunez when the Mets come to town on Monday. While Red Sox fans won’t be seeing Porcello pitch, they might get to see Nunez play at Fenway. No pitchers have been announced yet for either team,  however, Porcello won’t be one of the two this time around. He will be making his Mets debut against the Braves on Sunday.

Eduardo Nunez last played in July 2019 before the Red Sox designated him for assignment. In the offseason, he signed a minor league deal with the Mets. Rick Porcello, after five seasons with the Red Sox, signed a one-year contract with the Mets this past offseason. The New Jersey native stated in his press conference that he was looking forward to pitching for team he rooted for as a child.

Both home games against the Mets will be at 7:30pm. From there, the Red Sox will travel to Citi Field to take on the Mets on Wednesday and Thursday to start their first road trip of the season. The Red Sox will close out July against the Yankees at Yankee Stadium.

Last Night’s Games

Opening Day 2020 officially began last night for the Yankees, Nationals, Dodgers and Giants. Both the Yankees and Dodgers got their first wins of the season, and a few hit home runs. The Yankees – Nationals game ended after 5 innings due to rain, and the final was 4-1. The Dodgers and Giants played a full game, which saw the Dodgers beat the Giants 8-1.

Gerrit Cole made his Yankee debut last night, where he struck out 5 batters, and allowing a home run to Adam Eaton. Max Scherzer made the start for the Nationals, striking out 11, but allowing 4 runs in 5.1 innings. Giancarlo Stanton got the offense going for the Yankees, hitting his first home run of 2020 off of Scherzer in the first inning.

Clayton Kershaw was scheduled to make his Opening Day 2020 start against the Giants, but was scratched due to an injury. Dustin May took the ball in game one against Johnny Cueto. May went 4.1 innings, allowing one run and striking out four. Kike Hernandez hit the lone home run for the Dodgers, however, the Dodgers managed to have 12 hits and drove in 8 runs. Even though they got 8 hits, the Giants only managed to get one run across the board thanks to a Pablo Sandoval sacrifice fly in the 3rd inning.