One Week From The Highly Anticipated Trade Deadline

We are officially one week away from the highly anticipated trade deadline. Will the Red Sox be buyers, or sellers? Who will stay, and who will go to another team? Those answers will hopefully come in the next week.

Unlike in years past, Major League Baseball has decided to have one and only one tradeHighly Anticipated Trade Deadline deadline. There’s no more waiver trades like there were in the past. What happens between now and July 31st for the Red Sox is very crucial, and determines their fate in the American League.

Right now, they took 2 out of 3 from the Rays in Tampa Bay, allowing them to be one game back of the Rays. However, do they have what it takes to continue the uphill battle? Will they add a new member to the bullpen, or to the line up? Only time will tell, and the clock is ticking away.

From the Rotation to the Bullpen

On July 13th, Dave Dombrowski’s journey to help the Red Sox’s pitching problems began. Dombrowski proceeded to trade for Baltimore Orioles starter, Andrew Cashner for cash, and two minor leaguers. This seemed like a good trade at the time, as Cashner has been a consistent starting pitcher for the Orioles, with a record of 9-3. Since then, Cashner hasn’t been living up to the hype so to speak. In two starts for Boston, Cashner is 0-2 with a 7.36 ERA. He has pitched 11 innings, allowing 14 hits and 10 runs. Of those, 4 have been home runs.

With one piece to the puzzle solved so to speak, it’s hard not to look at the bullpen and their struggles this season. Again, with the highly anticipated trade deadline looming in the distance, the Red Sox have been linked to some names that could hopefully save them.

One player in particular is Kirby Yates. The current San Diego Padre has also pitched for the Yankees, Rays and LA Angels. Yates was named to his first All Star game this July, and has been an effective closer for the Padres. The 32 year old righty has a 1.05 ERA in 41 games this season.

Another player that has been linked to Boston is a member of the San Francisco Giants. No, it’s not Madison Bumgarner, it’s Will Smith. Again, not the actor, the relief pitcher. In 44 games for the Giants, he has a record of 3-0, with a 2.44 ERA. Smith has also pitched for the Kansas City Royals, and Milwaukee Brewers in his career. The 30 year old lefty would be a great fit for the Boston bullpen. Smith was also named to his first All Star game this season, and won the Willie Mac Award in 2018.

The Highly Anticipated Trade Deadline Awaits Boston

The main focus for Boston this upcoming deadline is pitching, mainly the bullpen. With the addition of Andrew Cashner, and Nathan Eovaldi coming off of the injured list, the Red Sox look prepared for the next few months of the season. However, there are still a lot of unanswered questions. For instance, can the lineup stay hot enough to keep the ball rolling to October? Can the rotation kick it up a notch to win games and keep the bullpen well rested? There are so many questions and such little time.

Unfortunately for Boston, one name that they were linked to, New York Mets starting pitcher, Zack Wheeler, is on the injured list until at least Friday. the 29 year old right hander is 6-6 on the season in 19 starts. Granted, his ERA is 4.69, but Wheeler is still a promising up and comer since making his debut in 2013.

Like most trades, many prospects can be moved. For Boston in this highly anticipated trade deadline, it’ll be interesting to see who gets traded from the farm, or from the big league club itself. I doubt Dombrowski would trade away the future, especially Tristan Casas or Bobby Dalbec. If the Red Sox can find some form of consistency, then next Wednesday’s deadline will be something to look forward to.

Red Sox trade targets to look out for

A seemingly taxed bullpen and what’s been a thin starting rotation for a while now are problems forcing the Red Sox into considering outside options for their pitching staff. With Alex Cora confirming that Nathan Eovaldi will assume the closer role upon returning from the Injured List, a spot will remain open in the rotation. Red Sox trade targets have generally been bullpen arms the last few years, but that tune might be changing in 2019.

With a largely competitive field of teams still vying for wild card contention, the market is aRed Sox trade targets bit thinner than it has been in recent seasons. That being said, there are indeed arms that are reportedly being shopped, as sellers like the Mets, Blue Jays, and others will be looking to unload and rebuild.

If the plan for the Sox is to add a man in the rotation, there are some options on the market that might come a bit cheaper than relievers with multiple years before free agency. Let’s take a look at who some of these Red Sox trade targets might be.

RHP Zack Wheeler, New York Mets

Ken Rosenthal recently reported that the Red Sox were spotted scouting a recent start of Wheeler’s (and Matthew Boyd’s). With the Mets coming undone in another lost season, a move would make sense. While the ERA is an unimpressive 4.69, Wheeler has been able to eat up innings in New York. He has managed to work 6.0+ IP in 15 of his 19 starts, including 7.0+ IP in 9 of those starts. He has worked fewer than five innings just a pair of times, going 4.2 in each. For a Red Sox team starved for an innings eater, a low-cost soon-to-be free agent represents an excellent fit.

LHP Matthew Boyd, Detroit Tigers

Boyd has put together a career year, posting a very solid 3.87 ERA through 18 starts. He’s been the best pitcher on a poor Tigers team, but has done well in a division that features a number of solid teams like the juggernaut Twins, competitive Indians, and rising White Sox. There are two concerns, however: for one thing, he is still a few years away from free agency. With how much clubs value team control these days, Boyd will come at a high price. Not just that, but after being one of the AL’s best through mid-June, Boyd has regressed a bit. The southpaw has allowed 4 or 5 ER in each of his last 4 starts, after allowing more than 4 ER just twice through his first 14. Boyd would make another quality addition, but the fit might not be as strong.

RHP Marcus Stroman, Toronto Blue Jays

Red Sox fans might not jump all over this idea. But Stroman is having an excellent season, has always proven a tough out, and brings a swagger to the mound, which makes him a Red Sox trade target. A swagger that might energize the group. Stroman is one of the league’s best at producing high ground ball rates. In two starts against Boston this season, Stroman has allowed just 1 ER over 11 IP. His 3.18 ERA would automatically be the lowest among fellow Sox starting pitchers. What makes this deal difficult is that Toronto won’t trade a key player to a divisional rival for nothing. Like with Boyd, the Red Sox might be priced out of their comfort zone.

Red Sox Sweep the Rays thanks to lifts from Moreland, others

You have tremendous foresight if you were expecting to see the Red Sox sweep the Rays after a weekend series in Tampa. With the tabloids barking for the real Red Sox to stand up, the World Champions were facing adversity really for the first time under Alex Cora. That might still be the case, as Boston still sits at just 9-13 AFTER a series sweep. But the Red Sox are finally showing real signs of shaking their funk.

The Red Sox sweep the Rays with a push from Mookie Betts

As has been the case since Betts showed MVP-ability in 2016, the team goes when he Red Sox Sweep the Raysgoes. When he struggles, so does the offense. It’s no secret Betts was scuffling entering play on Friday, going just 2 of 23 in his last seven games. That changed when he smacked a homer and a double to help lift the Sox over the Rays 6-4 to open the series. Case in point, as he went back-to-back with Mitch Moreland on home runs in the series opening victory. He continued that approach into the next two games. He added two more hits apiece in each contest. If the 2018 MVP continues to stay hot, then he very well might carry the Red Sox back to form.

The starting pitching continues to improve, and that starts with David Price

Price has arguably been the rotation’s most reliable thrower to this point in 2019. While the southpaw has tossed just one quality start so far, he has not allowed more than four runs in a start. Price has worked less than six innings only once too. Given the inconsistencies of Chris Sale, Nathan Eovaldi, Rick Porcello and Eduardo Rodriguez, Price’s outings have given the team a chance to win each time out. He was at his best versus Baltimore on 4/14 (7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 7 K) but worked out of jams and held the Rays to two runs over five innings with 10 strikeouts on Sunday afternoon. With Eovaldi hitting the injured list, and Chris Sale still yet to truly put it together, Price’s importance cannot be overstated to the rotation’s long term success.

Martinez, Moreland, and Benintendi are all off to strong starts

As important as Betts’ oil is to grease the Red Sox’ engine, the team might be off to an even worse start if it weren’t for J.D. Martinez, Andrew Benintendi, and, most notably, Moreland. Through Sunday, Moreland lead the team in homers (7) and RBI (14), and mashed most of those homers to either tie or give the Red Sox the lead. The former Texas Ranger homered again Sunday to pull the Sox within one. Martinez has been one of the best hitters in baseball, hitting .350 with a 1.004 OPS, including four homers and 11 RBI. He is also one of three players (Rafael Devers and Betts) to appear in every game so far. Benintendi crushed his first career grand slam on Saturday to give Boston an early lead. Coupled with his strong defense in the field, the Cincinnati native figures to continue to break out in 2019.

If you expected to read the headline “Red Sox Sweep the Rays” on Monday, you also see why the team has gotten back on track. If the Sox want to keep winning, it is going to take more than what they have received so far from the roster. But a three-game sweep of the first-place Rays is a good starting point. They can now look forward to the upcoming home stand with three straight wins under their belt.

A Whole New Red Sox Homestand

After a brief road trip to New York and Tampa Bay, the Red Sox head home to Fenway Park. In this Red Sox homestand they look to take on the Detroit Tigers, Tampa Bay Rays and the Oakland A’s.

How will the Red Sox do against these teams? Hopefully better, considering the injuriesred sox homestead that have been piling up. On the plus side, after being swept by the Yankees, they did a great job against the Rays. The Red Sox swept the AL East leader, and look to continue their success at Fenway.

Review of the Last Red Sox Homestand

The last time we saw the Red Sox at home, they played the Blue Jays and the Orioles. They went 3-3, including a walk off win against the Jays. It looked like some areas were off for the Red Sox. The main issue was starting pitching. After the series against the Rays, it seems like everything is in working order. Granted, there are some small issues, but that’s expected.

The Tigers Come to Fenway

The Detroit Tigers, led by Ron Gardenhire, are 10-10 in the AL Central division. Their last series before coming to Fenway saw them play the Chicago White Sox, in which they went 2-1 in the series. One of the games, however, was rained out.

Although we will see many familiar faces on the Tigers, there is one to take note of. Rookie relief pitcher, Reed Garrett has been a bright spot in their bullpen. Garrett, who made his MLB debut on March 29th, has pitched in 6 games, with a 1.29 ERA. He’s pitched in seven innings, striking out seven batters.

The Rays Are Coming To Seek Revenge

After the Red Sox swept the Rays in the Trop, the Rays come to Fenway. This time, they’re looking to take control. After the Red Sox’s bats woke up, they beat the Rays in good fashion. Everything seemed to be clicking for Boston in that series. Now, the Red Sox are looking to make sure their success against them continues

Following a series that saw the Rays loose three straight to the Red Sox, they will go onto play the Kansas City Royals at home. Making another return to Fenway Park is former Red Sox draft pick Jalen Beeks. Last season, Beeks was traded to Tampa Bay for Nathan Eovaldi. Beeks made his Fenway return last August, pitching four innings giving up a hit and striking out three.

The A’s Are Looking to Finish April With An A

The last time the Red Sox played the A’s, it was part of that West Coast road trip at the beginning of the season. That series saw the Red Sox go 1-3 in Oakland. Since then, the A’s have landed in fourth place in the AL West, with a record of 11-13. Their last series, was a sweep for the Toronto Blue Jays in Oakland.

One thing to note before Oakland comes to Fenway is the contract extension of Khris Davis. The 31 year old outfielder recently signed a signed a two year $33.5 million dollar extension to stay in Oakland. Davis, who arrived in Oakland after a trade with Milwaukee in the 2015 off season, made his MLB debut with the Brewers in 2013.

Next Up For The Red Sox – The American League East Leading Rays

After facing three out of the four American League East teams this past week, The Red Sox turn to face the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays, who have been red hot since the beginning of the season, are currently 13-4. They also hold a 5.5 game lead over the second place New York Yankees.

Over the past few seasons, the Tampa Bay Rays have given the Red Sox headaches.american league east They have also proven to be a competitive team in the American League East. They have reached the playoffs in 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2013. Only once did they make it to the World Series. That was in 2008, when they lost to the Philadelphia Phillies in five games.

Last season, the Rays went 90-72, landing in third place behind the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees. That team, which saw Blake Snell win his first Cy Young Award, did a lot this past offseason. This led to some believing that they may be in rebuilding mode, especially after they traded hurler Chris Archer at the 2018 trade deadline.

Before I go any further, let’s take a look back at the last three series.

Coming Home to The Toronto Blue Jays

After a long road trip on the West Coast, the Red Sox headed back to Fenway Park. There, they faced the Toronto Blue Jays for a mini two-game series.

Game One saw the World Series Champions get their rings and raise the banner. Although it started off as a magical day for the players and fans alike, it did end in a loss to the Jays. The starter Chris Sale, went four innings, giving up five runs. On the positive side, Mitch Moreland and Mookie Betts homered in the game. Final score: 7-5.

Game Two, and the final game of the series saw the Red Sox win in walk off fashion. After starter Nathan Eovaldi gave up five runs in the third, the Red Sox powered back to win the game. After a walk to Betts, Moreland hit a run scoring double to tie the game. From there,  Moreland was replaced by Eduardo Nunez, who stole third. Their closer, Ken Giles walked both JD Martinez and Xander Bogaerts next.

Then up came Rafael Devers. On a 2-1 count, Devers ripped a single to right field, which scored Nunez. This game ended with a score of 7-6, and had the Fenway crowd going wild. This moment, brought to us by some great hitting and a few walks, was a turning point for the Red Sox.

Patriots Day and The Baltimore Orioles

After splitting the series against the Blue Jays, the Red Sox’s attention turned to the Baltimore Orioles. The Orioles, who were playing a four-game set at Fenway, took two out of the four from the Red Sox.

The first game saw a mini win streak occur for the Red Sox. After a solid outing by Eduardo Rodriguez, who went 6.2 inning giving up two runs, the bullpen shut down the Orioles. The offense, led by Andrew Benintendi’s third inning home run, exploded, allowing Rodriguez and the pen to hold down the led. Final score: 6-4 Red Sox.

Game Two wasn’t so lucky for the Red Sox. The Saturday afternoon game ended the mini win streak. Rick Porcello, the 2016 Cy Young Award Winner, only lasted four innings, giving up three runs. Probably the most important thing to note about this game is that Orioles’ first baseman Chris Davis’ bat woke up. Davis, who had 62 plate appearances without a hit, decided to hit a two run single off of Porcello in the first inning. From there, the Orioles would go on to win the game. Final score: 9-5.

Game Three was a win for the Sox at Fenway Park. led by a stellar performance by David Price and Xander Bogaerts, the Red Sox blanked the Orioles. The final score: 4-0 Red Sox.

Game Four, which is the yearly Patriot’s Day game at Fenway Park, didn’t go so well. It found Chris Davis hitting his first home run of the season, and the bullpen being worked quite a bit. The only run scored by the Red Sox came in the fifth inning. Final score: 8-1 Orioles.

Back On The Road to Yankee Stadium

Back to the scene of the crime – The 2018 ALDS, which led the Red Sox to move onto the ALCS and the World Series, took place at Yankee Stadium. Fans can recall those last two games, the last one being the one that crushed the Yankees dreams of moving on. This game, however, was more of a nightmare than anything else. James Paxton, an offseason addition for the Yankees, allowed four hits over eight innings. Final score: 8-0 Yankees.

Game Two started off great for the Red Sox. A first inning solo shot for JD Martinez, and a two run home run for Christian Vazquez, put the Red Sox on top 3-0. Nathan Eovaldi, pitched 6 innings of great baseball, before the bullpen let the lead go. Final score: 5-3 Yankees.

Onto the Trop…

After the mini series in New York, the Red Sox will enjoy an off day on Thursday, before heading to Saint Petersburg, Florida to take on the Rays. After finding themselves near the bottom of the American League East, can the Red Sox play spoiler to the Rays? Let’s hope that they do. Eduardo Rodriguez, Rick Porcello and David Price look to have solid outings down at the Trop.

Red Sox Plummet To 6-13, Swept By Yankees

At the onset of each matchup, the Sox keep setting out to win games with high hopes of winning series.’ Through 19 games in their championship-defending season, however, the club has yet to win a series and has split just two: one against Toronto and one against Baltimore. Both Toronto and Baltimore combined for 120 wins last year. Boston won 119 games. Last night’s loss to the Yankees had the Red Sox plummet to 6-13. They have now distanced themselves 8.5 games behind Tampa Bay in the division.

The Astros were 2017’s defending champs, and garnered a record of 12-7 through theirRed Sox plummet first 19 games in 2018. A season earlier, after winning the World Series in 2016, the Cubs won 11 of their first 19 the following year. Both the Astros and Cubs made the postseason following their WS titles.’ The last defending champ to have six wins or less through their first 19 games (the following season) was the 1998 Florida Marlins. They started 5-14 and finished with 104 losses. Dombrowski oversaw both the ’98 Marlins team and this ’19 Red Sox team.

Red Sox Plummet To 6-13: “When you’re going bad, it’s pretty bad”

Chris Sale is now 0-4 with an ERA of 8.50. After his start on Tuesday, he spoke with reporters and shared his disgust:

“It’s as frustrated as I’ve ever been on a baseball field,” Sale said. “It sucks. I’m not gonna sugarcoat it. I flat-out stink right now. I don’t know what it is. When you’re going good, it’s good. When you’re going bad, it’s pretty bad.”

Despite the ace’s struggles, he did throw 93 pitches and recorded six strikeouts, which were both season highs. He was also able to uptick his velocity to the 97 MPH range for the first time in 2019.

In terms of positional players, Dustin Pedroia exited Wednesday’s game due to left knee soreness after his first at-bat. He is most likely on his way back to the Injured List. Mookie Betts is batting .200, Jackie Bradley Jr. is hitting .148, and everyday third baseman Rafael Devers has an OPS well below .700.

After a strong start as a cohesive unit, the bullpen has been bad lately. Since throwing a collective shutout in Arizona on April 7th, the brigade has warranted a run in seven of the eight games since. Heath Hembree, Tyler Thornburg, Colten Brewer, Marcus Walden, Erasmo Ramirez, and Brandon Workman have all warranted at least 3 earned runs in that span. They have surrendered a total of 21 earned runs in those eight games.

Red Sox Plummet To 6-13: Some bright notes

Nathan Eovaldi had his best outing last night. Six innings, three hits, and zero earned runs. In addition, he struck out six and eclipsed the 100-pitch mark for the first time.

J.D. Martinez and Christian Vázquez both homered last night. Martinez’s OPS sits above 1.000 and Vázquez’s .438 slugging percentage ranks 5th amongst American League catchers.

After an off-day today, the Sox begin a three-game set at the Trop on Friday. Eduardo Rodriguez will look to build off his impressive start last Friday against Baltimore. Rick Porcello and David Price are scheduled to start on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. They face a Tampa team that is off to their best start in franchise history and has the best record in baseball. Boston has the most road losses to date with 10.

The Sox have no choice but to continue to stay positive and look ahead. It’s better to be slumping now rather than in September. After Sunday’s game, the team will head home for a 10-game home-stand. One would say that now would be the perfect time to stop slumping.