One Last Chance To Take Down Cleveland

After a homestand that saw the Red Sox go 3-3-1, they head to Cleveland for one last chance to beat the Indians. The first game starts on Monday, with Eduardo Rodriguez going up against Zach Plesac. For those who don’t know, last Wednesday’s game got suspended due to rain, and therefore will be played on August 22nd. That was the last time Rodriguez pitched. This time, he is looking to have a better game.

This last homestand saw the Red Sox slip deeper in the standings, not just in the AL East,one last chance but in the Wild Card as well. After loosing the last two games to the LA Angels, they look to end the skid now in Cleveland. Right now, the Indians are 71-47, and are tied for first place. The Red Sox have one last chance to do some damage against the Indians these next three days. Let’s see what happens.

A Royally Strange Homestand

The Royals came to town last week for one final showdown of the season at Fenway. After splitting the first two games of the series, it was tied 1-1. Now, Red Sox Nation has to wait until August 22nd to know the final score. The game will be their one last chance to grab a win against Kansas City.

The first game saw the Red Sox snap an eight game loosing streak, as they won 7-5. Rick Porcello picked up his 10th win of the season, going six inning allowing one run on four hits. Both Sam Travis and Rafael Devers homered in the game. While the bullpen did give up four additional runs, Brandon Workman pitched in the ninth inning to earn his sixth save of the season.

Game two resulted in a loss for the Red Sox, as the Royals won, 6-2. Andrew Cashner’s 5.1 innings of work resulted in all six runs, while the Boston bats fell silent. Royals starter, Jakob Junis and the bullpen kept the Boston bats quiet, only allowing two runs, despite the lineup getting nine hits. The Red Sox had multiple opportunities to try and win this game, but none of them worked.

Game three started off with the Red Sox down 2-0, but a two run home run by JD Martinez tied it in the bottom of the fourth inning. Then, Xander Bogaerts’ two run double in the fifth put Boston ahead 4-2. However, Darwinzon Hernandez and Nathan Eovaldi allowed a runner each to score, tying the game. The score of 4-4 will last until next week, when the Red Sox have one last chance to take the series from the Royals.

The Angels Faced the Red Sox for the First Time in 2019

Seriously, who makes the schedule? The last time the Red Sox played the LA Angels was from June 26th – June 28th 2018 that resulted in a sweep of the Angels in Boston. The next time Boston faces the Angels will be at the end of August in Anaheim.

After the suspended game on Wednesday, the Red Sox looked to defeat the Angels at Fenway. Game one turned into a successful one for the Sox, as they shut out the Angels, 3-0. Chris Sale pitched eight solid innings for his sixth win of the season. Sale allowed only two hits while striking out thirteen batters. Sam Travis and Sandy Leon provided the run support, with home runs in the second and fifth innings respectively. Brandon Workman, the highlight of the bullpen, came in and earned his seventh save of the season.

Game two turned into a slugfest for Boston. After giving up a three run home run to Albert Pujols in the first inning, the Red Sox responded with a total of 16 runs. Brian Johnson started the game, pitching 2.2 innings. From there, the bullpen went to work, only allowing one more run, and striking out five. Marcus Walden earned his seventh win of the season. JD Martinez went on a home run tear, homering in the fourth inning and in the seventh inning. Rafael Devers, Mookie Betts and Mitch Moreland also hit home runs in the game.

Mike Trout Finally Hits a Fenway Home Run

After taking the first two games from the Angels, the Red Sox couldn’t hang onto the possibility of a sweep, or taking three of the four games from the Angels. Game three, however saw something that has never been done at Fenway Park – Mike Trout hitting a home run. Yes, since breaking out in the majors in 2011, he has never hit a home run at Fenway. Then, with one on and no outs in the sixth inning, he launched the ball over the Green Monster off of Rick Porcello. The Angels ended up winning 12-4.

Game four was another lost opportunity for Boston. After coming back to take the lead in the bottom of the fifth inning, the Angels scored in the eighth, and then again in the tenth inning. Andrew Cashner only lasted 1.2 innings, but a solid 2.1 innings from Josh Taylor and a strong inning each for Marcus Walden and Nathan Eovaldi proved to be promising. Kole Calhoun had other plans, as he hit a home run off of Matt Barnes to tie the game, and a single by Anthony Bemboom sealed the deal, as the Angels won 5-4.

One Last Chance to Defeat Cleveland on the Road

Following Sunday afternoon’s game, the Red Sox flew to Cleveland to get ready to take on the Indians. The Indians, who went 3-1 against the Twins, look to continue their climb in the AL Central against the Red Sox. They’re currently 71-47, and are tied with the Twins in their division. The Red Sox will have one last chance to defeat the Indians, and keep them back in the AL Central.

They will be sending Zach Plesac up against Eduardo Rodriguez in game one. Game two will feature Chris Sale and Mike Clevinger. Game three’s starter for Cleveland will be Shane Beiber, while Boston has yet to name a starter. The Red Sox will be looking at an Indians rotation without Trevor Bauer, but a line up featuring Yasiel Puig. Last time the Red Sox saw Puig was during the World Series against the Dodgers.

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.

Xander Bogaerts MVP case grows by the day

Before we get to the Xander Bogaerts MVP case, let’s give credit it where it’s due. Mike Trout continues to show us all why he may go down as one of the most talented baseball players of all time. Nobody in the league has been able to string together so many Top-2 MVP finishes before turning 30, let alone in their careers.

But the pool of talent in the majors doesn’t just end at Trout. In fact, the crop of Xander Bogaerts MVP caseshortstops currently roaming the middle infields across the show is arguably the most talented group the league has seen in decades. Francisco Lindor, Carlos Correa, Andrelton Simmons, Trevor Story, and Javier Baez are big names that come to mind.

But the one player that has stood up against them all- and might be coming for Trout- is Xander Bogaerts.

Bogaerts has surged ahead of other AL infielders

The Xander Bogaerts MVP case is a movement that has really gained steam over the last two months. With the aforementioned deep talent pool, there’s an awful lot of competition for the league’s top shortstop each year. Perhaps unbelievably, it could be argued that Bogaerts quietly ascended to the top spot, as flashy seasons by Lindor and Correa often stole the spotlight from Boston’s recently extended star. That’s no longer the case.

Understanding the Xander Bogaerts MVP case can be as simple as looking at his eye popping numbers. Just this last week, he came off a stretch in which he recorded at least 1 hit, 1 run, and 1 RBI in a historical 8 straight games. The only other Red Sox in club history to achieve that? Ted Williams. Yes, the Splendid Splinter. Ted accomplished the feat twice, with separate streaks of 8 and 11 games. Certainly nothing to sneer at.

Need more convincing? Let’s take a peak at his numbers as a whole. The 26-year-old was slashing .312/.399/.575 entering play on July 17, with 21 HR and 74 RBI. He had homered in 4 of his last 5 games, and in 5 of 7. He joins Trout as the only players in the AL batting .300 or higher with 20+ HR.

Is that enough yet? How about WAR? WAR’s value can vary based on metrics, but according to Fangraphs, Bogaerts’ 4.1 WAR trails only Trout (6.5), Cody Bellinger (5.7) and Christian Yelich (5.2) for tops in the majors. All three of them are MVP candidates that are putting up out-of-this-world numbers. But so is Bogaerts, and that shows that he belongs.

Bogaerts sits just behind Trout in most AL offensive categories

Still have not been told enough in the Xander Bogaerts MVP case? Let’s look at where he places among league leaders across other offensive categories.

He’s T-1st in the AL with Trout in XBH (51), 2nd to Trout in SLG (.575) and OPS (.974), T-2nd with Trout in runs (74), 2nd in the AL in 2B (30), 3rd in total bases (203), and 4th in OBP (.399). Pretty great, right?

The crazy thing is, it seems like most baseball fans needed convincing to even make Bogaerts an All-Star this season. He did eventually make it in after injuries knocked out other stars, but he didn’t even finish in the the Top 3 in voting at the position. The best shortstop in the American League, by a healthy margin, didn’t get voted in to the mid-summer classic.

Trout holds a comfy lead across most offensive categories, and might even be putting together his best season yet. But there’s no doubt that Bogaerts has cemented himself as a superstar in this league. For him, it’s time to start stealing some of the spotlight away from L.A. and bringing it back to Beantown, where one of the hottest shows in town is here to stay.

Red Sox Update: Two Days Until Opening Day

With two days until Opening Day in Seattle and with ample activity occurring in the past week, here is a quick Red Sox update. Chris Sale signed a 5-yr/$145 million contract on Saturday to remain with the team through 2024. Also on Saturday, the Red Sox made the final cuts to their bullpen. Darwinzon Hernandez was sent to Double-A Portland, while Bobby Poyner and Marcus Walden were optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket. Manager Alex Cora stated that Jenrry Mejia would not make the Opening Day roster as well.

Bullpen is set…for now

The Sox bullpen will consist of Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier, Colten Brewer, Heath Hembree,Red Sox Update Brian Johnson, Tyler Thornburg, Hector Velazquez and Brandon Workman to begin 2019.

On Monday, Sandy Leon, who had been with the Red Sox since 2015, was placed on waivers. Later that day, Rick Porcello was hit in the head with a ‘comebacker’ by Cubs catcher Willson Contreras. He “laughed” it off and stayed in the game. What?!?

Arguably the most substantial news happened last Wednesday. In an interview with reporters, reigning AL MVP Mookie Betts was asked about Angels outfielder Mike Trout’s new record breaking contract. “I love it here in Boston. It’s a great spot. I’ve definitely grown to love going up north in the cold. That doesn’t mean I want to sell myself short of my value.”

Also in this Red Sox Update

It was announced very early this morning that reigning World Series MVP Steve Pearce will begin 2019 on the Injured List (IL) due to a left calf injury. Sam Travis will serve as Boston’s backup first baseman in Seattle.

Just over a week ago on March 18, Cora announced that second baseman Dustin Pedroia will also begin the season on the Injured List. Pedroia could make his debut on April 9th on Boston’s first home game of the season versus Toronto.

Mookie Betts Contract Extension: What Will it Take?

The last two off-seasons have been sour for many free agents, but a change appears to be on the horizon. Players have been outspoken about the level of talent left on the market well into March, including Mookie Betts. Are fears of failing to find mega deals in free agency causing players to sign extensions? Is a Mookie Betts contract extension next on the docket?

Elite players around the league are starting a trend

In recent weeks some of the top stars in the game such as Mike Trout and Nolan Betts Contract ExtensionArenado have signed massive contract extensions that eliminate them from their impending free agencies. Eloy Jimenez of the Chicago White Sox has not registered a single day of service time, yet just agreed to a six-year, $43 million deal.

Jimenez joins a list of names that also includes Ryan Pressly, Alex Bregman, Aaron Hicks, Aaron Nola, Whit Merrifield, and Carlos Carrasco. Studs like Bregman, Nola, and the aforementioned Severino are signing away arbitration and free agency years to make better money now.

Despite Bryce Harper and Manny Machado eventually getting the mega deals they so desired, many quality players have been left behind on the free market well into March and beyond. Would a move to get extended before the murky waters of free agency make sense for Betts, too? He does not seem to think so.

Where does a Mookie Betts contract extension come into play?

When asked in a media scrum about his openness to an extension, Betts had this to say: “Why not? You should definitely keep your ears open and see what is said. But that doesn’t mean you necessarily have to agree on or take whatever is given. Like I said, I love (Boston). I think this is great place to be to spend your career here. But that doesn’t mean you should sell yourself short.”

While Betts certainly does not close the door on a future deal, his stance has never wavered. As questions mount, with contract totals and AAV records being shattered, many believe the Red Sox outfielder is next in line for a huge pay day.

In terms of trying to set a price, the Red Sox already set the baseline. Betts confirmed a report by the New York Post’s Joel Sherman that he was offered an extension last offseason. He turned it down. The verdict? An eight-year, $200 million beast of a deal. But given what has transpired in recent weeks, Mookie Betts seems to be one step ahead.

Trout’s colossal deal of $360 million over 10 years might be a good measuring stick for Betts. In 2018, Betts won the AL MVP award, the AL batting title, a gold glove, silver slugger, and made his third consecutive All-Star team. If Trout can command a deal of that size, then Betts surely can. Betts might even be able to land more.

What might a Mookie Betts contract extension cost?

If Betts continues to level himself with Trout for the rights to be baseball’s alpha dog, he might hit it big. Let’s say Betts puts up comparable numbers to his 2018 MVP season, with some expected drop off. The native Tennessean led the league in average (346), slugging (.640), runs (129) and WAR (10.9). With that in mind, it is not farfetched to think Betts could be MLB’s first $400 million man. It seems likely the Betts will seek a 10-year deal in the neighborhood of Trout’s $360 million. If he continues to produce at this pace, Betts might blow us all out of the water.

Betts Versus Trout: Who’s Better?

Mookie Betts versus Mike Trout as baseball’s best player? That seems to be one of the top questions heading into this season. Let’s start with what the two have in common.

Both were born in the early-90s, play the outfield, and are right-handed. They have been named to the All-Star Game in each of the past three years and both hit the free agent market in 2021.

How do they differ, generally speaking? Trout was a first round pick, has a much larger frame (6’2″, 235 lb.). He has played seven full major league seasons.

Betts was drafted slightly later, in the fifth round, is sized similarly to the average Joe (5’9″, 180 lb.). He has played four full major league seasons.

While speaking from a statistical stance, the question of favoring Mookie Betts versus Mike Trout is where this conversation really heats up.

The next great one?

Trout has been regarded as the ‘Mickey Mantle’ of this generation of ball players. He spent just one full season in the minors before being promoted to the majors for his major league debut in July 2011. He started 2012 at Triple-A and was called up to the majors in late April for good. As a rookie, he plated 639 appearances and led the American League in stolen bases (49) and runs scored (129). He was named an All-Star, honored with AL Rookie of the Year and finished second in MVP voting.

In the six seasons since, he has started 6 All-Star Games, won 2 MVPs, and averaged 107 runs, 34 homers, 91 RBIs, 22 steals, and a 1.011 OPS.

From unknown to stardom

Tough to decide without knowing how far Betts has come in four years. After an unimpressive first season in the minors (292 plate appearances, 0 home runs, 20 steals, .658 OPS), he responded mightily while playing for two of the Red Sox’s Single-A affiliates in 2013, posting 15 home runs, 38 steals, and .923 OPS in 551 plate appearances. In 2014, he split time between Double-A and Triple-A (464 plate appearances, 11 home runs, 33 steals, .960 OPS) before being promoted to the big leagues in late June. Betts has been the Red Sox’s leadoff hitter ever since.

From 2015-2018, he has started 3 All-Star Games, won 3 Gold Gloves and 1 MVP. His averages look like this: 111 runs, 26 homers, 93 RBIs, 25 steals, and a .899 OPS.

It may seem as if Trout’s track record is more attractive. Do not discount Betts, however, as number 50 is the more durable player at this stage of his career (35 more starts than Trout in past two seasons). Betts also owns outclasses Trout in the most important department: World Series rings. Betts 1, Trout 0.