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.

The Red Sox, MLB, and the Postseason

Despite the fact that the Red Sox are not in the postseason, it’s hard not to watch this year’s postseason games. Right now, three series are heading into Game five of the Division Series. As for one team, they’re already in the Championship Series after sweeping the Minnesota Twins. For the National League side, Game five is today, while the Astros take on the Rays tomorrow night.

Over the course of the past week, the Red Sox and MLB have been making a few moves.the postseason Teams such as the Mets and Pirates have let go of their managers. For the Red Sox, coaches like Dana LeVangie have either been reassigned, or are no longer with the organization. 2020 is already shaping up to be an interesting season, and the offseason hasn’t even started yet.

The Postseason and the National League Division Series

The National League Division series wraps up tonight. The postseason for the National League has been quite interesting. The Washington Nationals took the Wild Card game from the popular Milwaukee Brewers to go on and face the Dodgers. Now, both the Nationals and Dodgers are in LA to find out who moves onto the Championship Series. Longtime National, Stephen Strasburg will go up against Walker Buehler in the winner takes all game. If I were to take a guess as to who moves on, I’d say the Nationals. While both teams are hungry to win, the Nationals have more to prove.

The next game features the Atlanta Braves and the St Louis Cardinals. Game four looked to be a winner for the Braves, but Yadier Molina and the Cards had other plans. Game four went into extra innings at Busch Stadium, and was won on a walk off by Molina. Jack Flaherty will be pitching for the Cardinals in Atlanta versus Mike Foltynewicz. For this game, I see the Braves winning and moving on.

Houston May Have a Problem

Last night, the Astros sent their ace to the mound on short rest. However, Justin Verlander, who is usually dominate in the postseason, only lasted 3.2 innings, allowing four runs off of seven hits. The Rays went onto take game four with a 4-1 victory in Tampa Bay. Home runs from Tommy Pham and Willy Adames pushed the Rays to victory. Ryan Yarbrough earned the win in the game, pitching two innings, and allowed only two hits.

Game five is tomorrow night at Minute Maid Park in Houston. The Rays will have Tyler Glasnow going up against Gerrit Cole. Whoever wins this game moves onto play the Yankees in the Championship Series on Saturday night. History would have the Astros winning and moving on, and I have to agree with that. The Rays had a great season this year, but their postseason may be over tomorrow night.

What’s Happening Around the MLB

While some teams are enjoying their postseason run, others are making changes to their organization. At the end of the 2019 season, Joe Maddon was let go by the Chicago Cubs. Reports that former Red Sox and Cubs catcher, David Ross is interviewing for the position, as is former Yankee manager, Joe Girardi.

The New York Mets have parted ways with their manager, Mickey Callaway on October 3rd. Callaway, who was a pitching coach with the Indians, became the manager of the Mets on October 23rd 2017. In 324 games with the Mets, he was 163-161. Another manager that was let go is Clint Hurdle of the Pittsburgh Pirates. In 1,456 games in Pittsburgh, Hurdle was 735-720 in the regular season. The 2013 NL Manager of the Year led the Pirates to the postseason in 2013, 2014, and 2015.

Red Sox Update

The Red Sox have made some moves during the postseason. The first was announcing the departure of Assistant Hitting Coach, Andy Barkett. Another announcement was that Dana LeVangie will not be the pitching coach in 2020, but has been moved to the scouting department as a pro scout. Assistant Pitching Coach, Brian Bannister has also been named the Vice President of Pitching Development.

Other changes can, and will most likely be made within the next few weeks. The Red Sox still need to find a replacement for Dave Dombrowski as well. Once the postseason ends, the Red Sox will have another obstacle to face. The question as to who will continue their careers in Boston needs to be addressed. Also, will JD Martinez opt out of his contract? Only time can answer that question. This is going to be a long offseason in Red Sox Nation.

Historic Series for Boston As They Take Two in Cleveland

After dropping game one in Cleveland, the Red Sox had a surge that lasted two games. This surge was fueled by Chris Sale, Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts. These three men had a historic series in Cleveland that propelled the Red Sox to victory. Sale became the fastest pitcher to get to 2,000 career strikeouts  on Tuesday night. He achieved the milestone after pitching in 1,626 innings. The last person to accomplish the feat was Hall of Famer, Pedro Martinez. Both pitchers also accomplished the feat while playing for Boston.

That’s not all. Rafael Devers, at the age of 22, went 6-6 in the game that led Boston to ahistoric series 7-6 victory over the Indians on Tuesday. Devers became the first player in MLB history to record 6 or more hits, including 4 doubles. The last player to go 6-6 was Christian Yelich last season. Wednesday turned to be pretty special as well. Xander Bogaerts hit his 100th and 101th career home runs on Wednesday afternoon, helping the Red Sox beat Cleveland 5-1.

Historic Series for the Red Sox

After losing the final two games to the Angels, the Red Sox headed to Cleveland to take on the Indians. Game one had Eduardo Rodriguez going up against Zach Plesac. Rodriguez, who has been a reliable force in the rotation for Boston, pitched 6 innings, allowing 5 runs on 10 hits. Plesac went 5 innings, allowing 3 runs off of 7 hits. However, the game ended with the Indians walking off with a 6-5 victory in the bottom of the 9th inning. Marcus Walden gave up the game winning home run with no outs to Carlos Santana.

The first part of the historic series began on Tuesday night. With Chris Sale on the mound looking like his old self, it was only a matter of time before strikeout #2,000 of his career occurred. Indians center fielder, Oscar Mercado, was Sale’s 2,000th strikeout. Mercado swung and missed at a slider to end the third inning, and allowed Sale to be the fastest pitcher to reach 2,000 strikeouts. The next historic moment came from Rafael Devers. The 22 year old hit 4 doubles, and went 6-6 in the game. His first hit, a double, came in the first inning, when he ripped a double to left field, allowing Mookie Betts to score. He also managed to raise his batting average to .325 following the game.

The final game of the historic series also had a great moment. In the top of the 3rd inning, Xander Bogaerts hit his 100th home run of his career off of Shane Bieber. In the 7th inning, Bogaerts wasted no time adding onto the 100 home runs, by hitting #101 off of Nick Goody. This allowed the Red Sox to win the game, 5-1.

Gearing Up for the Orioles

After a well deserved off day on Thursday, the Red Sox will be hosting the Orioles. Prior to their series in Boston, Baltimore was in New York playing against the AL East leading New York Yankees. Unfortunately for the Orioles, they were swept 4-0 against the Yankees, falling to a record of 39-82.

They’ll be sending Aaron Brooks to the mound to face Rick Porcello in the first game. Brooks last pitched against Boston on April 30th, where he went 4.1 innings, allowing 6 hits and 5 runs. Rick Porcello is looking for win #11 of the season after taking the loss against the Angels this past weekend.

Game two will feature Asher Wojciechowski and Eduardo Rodriguez. The final game of the series on Sunday afternoon doesn’t have starting pitchers named yet for either team. After this series, the next time the Orioles play the Red Sox is the final series of the regular season from September 17th to September 29th in Boston.

Harper and the Phillies Come to Town

After another long off season, Bryce Harper signed a mega 13-year, $330 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies. This allowed him to stay in the National League East, after playing the first 7 years of his career with the Washington Nationals. This will be the first time the Red Sox will be playing against the new look Phillies, as they also added JT Realmuto and Andrew McCutchen to their roster in the offseason.

The Phillies are currently 62-58, and are in 3rd place in the NL East. Before they come to Boston on Tuesday, they will be hosting the San Diego Padres at Citizens Bank Park in Philadephia. The Red Sox will be playing there from September 14th to September 15th.

Sunday Gossip – Trade Deadline Update

For baseball fans, a trade deadline update is important, especially if your team is in the hunt for October. In a few short days, teams will either be buyers, or sellers in the one and done trade deadline on Wednesday. It has been relatively quiet throughout Major League Baseball, as teams look to see what they need to do. For Boston, the goal is quite simple – Get into the postseason. With that in mind, what will Dombrowski do?

The other 29 teams have to be wondering the same thing. Who is on the block, and whotrade deadline update is looking to keep their star players from changing uniforms. Trade rumors can be hard to decode, especially when there is a high profile player involved. The most notable names that are being listed are Madison Bumgarner and Noah Syndergaard.

The Dream Wish List For Boston

For the Red Sox, it’s no secret that they need help in the bullpen help. That can be said for many other teams, especially the Washington Nationals and Minnesota Twins. As for the rest of the teams who seem to be in, or nearing playoff contention, pitching might be the answer to their problems. It’s just a matter of who they give up to get the top pitcher to assist their team.

Right now, Boston doesn’t have a trade deadline update to give. Everything is just rumors at this point for them. The same can be said for other teams who are also looking for help. This can come in the form of pitching, or a big bat in the lineup.

The Red Sox don’t have a deep farm system. However, they do have a lot of talent both in the minors and in the majors. Players like Kirby Yates and Jake McGee won’t come cheap. The Red Sox got lucky with Andrew Cashner, in which only two minor league prospects went to Baltimore.

Trade Deadline Update Around MLB

Saturday was a big day for trades in a sense. For the trade deadline update, we look at two teams that made an impact for their clubs.

First, is the Oakland A’s, who made a trade for reliever, Jake Diekman. Oakland traded prospects Ismael Aquino and Dairon Blanco to the Kansas City Royals for Diekman. In 48 games for the Royals, he went 0-6 with a 4.75 ERA. Diekman pitched in 41.2 innings, allowing 22 earned runs, while striking out 63 batters. In 8 major league seasons, Diekman has pitched for 4 teams. The Oakland A’s will be his 5th teams.

Another move that was made on Saturday was done by the Minnesota Twins and Miami Marlins. The Twins acquired two players, Sergio Romo and Chris Vallimont. The Marlins received first baseman Lewin Diaz in return.

The big name in this trade is Sergio Romo, who has plenty of big game experience. The right hander was a member of the San Francisco Giants’ 3 World Series titles in 2010, 2012, and 2014. This season, Romo has pitched in 38 games, with a 2-0 record and a 3.58 ERA. He has 17 saves so far this season as well. With the trade to Minnesota, the 12 year veteran will be playing on his 5th major league team.

Do Red Sox Actually Want Papelbon Back?

News of Jonathan Papelbon’s release from the Washington Nationals prompted rumors about a possible return to Boston. It only makes sense, especially since he helped the Red Sox win a World Series in 2007. The 35 year-old reliever spent the last few seasons in Philadelphia and Washington, but sometimes mentioned that he had a place in his heart for Boston. The question is, does Boston want Jonathan Papelbon back?papelbon back

Definitely.

According to the New York Post, Dave Dombrowski stated that it is “worth investigating” when asked about Papelbon’s possible return. It’s likely that Dombrowski and John Farrell want to bring Papelbon back to Boston. Farrell, however, is clear that Craig Kimbrel is still Boston’s closer. That doesn’t mean that Papelbon wouldn’t have a place in the Red Sox bullpen. Papelbon is a dominant relief pitcher. Boston needs more of that right now.

Consider this: Papelbon accumulated 19 saves with the Washington Nationals this season. That’s almost TWICE as many saves as the Red Sox bullpen has accumulated this season (when you take Craig Kimbrel out of the equation). So could Boston use Papelbon? Definitely!

While Papelbon is fondly remembered in Boston, Philly and Washington fans feel differently. In 2014, Papelbon grabbed a part of his anatomy and gestured toward a booing fan after blowing a save. While Papelbon denied it by saying he had to adjust himself, it wouldn’t be the last time he found trouble. Last year, Papelbon and Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper exchanged blows in the dugout after Harper flied out in the eighth. Papelbon apparently threw the first punch because he didn’t appreciate Harper’s failure to get on base. While both parties claimed to have resolved the issue afterwards, it left a bad taste in Nationals’ fans mouths, as well as that of the front office. So it came as little surprise when Papelbon requested, and received, a release from the Nationals.

It’s clear that Papelbon isn’t the pope. Ironically, my priest, Father Jim Gallagher, told me that Papelbon in Latin is “good pope.” So while his name might make for a good joke, his pitching is anything but. Since breaking into the majors in 2005, the six-time All-Star has accumulated 368 saves over twelve seasons. 219 of those saves were when he was in Boston. In fact, he currently ranks 3rd among active pitchers for all time saves, and 9th overall. Additionally, Papelbon is only 22 behind Hall of Fame reliever Dennis Eckersley. How great would it be to see Papelbon pass Eckersley wearing a Boston uniform?

Yes, Boston Does Want Jonathan Papelbon Back!

Philadelphia didn’t want Papelbon. Washington happily obliged him when he requested a release. Since leaving Boston, Papelbon has mentioned how much he loved being with the Red Sox. Dombrowski and Farrell are interested in him. Even David Ortiz wants him back! Before the Red Sox played the Orioles Wednesday night, Ortiz told ESPN Deportes, “I don’t know what happened there at the Nationals, but he was a great guy and we would welcome him back with open arms.” I don’t know about anyone else, but it looks like Papelbon’s return to Boston would be a great fit.