The Battle For Second Place Begins

After going 3-1 against the New York Yankees, the Red Sox will host the Tampa Bay Rays starting tonight. As the Rays roll into town, the battle for second place in the AL East officially begins. The Red Sox are a half game back of the Rays, who went 2-1 against Toronto this past weekend.

This is a pivotal series for Boston, as they look to continue the fight for October. Also, thesecond place trade deadline is tomorrow, and the rumors are still flying. For Boston, the battle for second place is an uphill one.

Game One

A rematch of last week’s showdown in Tampa Bay begins Tuesday night. Charlie Morton goes up against David Price in the first game. While Morton is looking for win number 13 of the season, Price is looking to win his eighth game of the season.

For Morton, he is looking to keep his team in second place. Price, however, has other plans. After a shaky outing on Wednesday against Tampa Bay, Price is not only looking to redeem himself, but push Boston into second place.

Game Two

The battle for second place in the AL East continues a few hours after the trade deadline is finished. Rick Porcello has the ball in this game against a Tampa Bay starter that has yet to be named.

Porcello is looking to continue his hot streak after his win on Thursday night against the Yankees. He went six innings allowing three runs off of six hits. It did help that the Red Sox scored seven runs in the first inning off of Masahiro Tanaka, led by Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr.

Game Three

Boston begins August by having Andrew Cashner on the mound in what will be a very important game. After this game, Boston heads to New York to face the first place Yankees. Tampa Bay has yet to announce a starter for this game, but Kevin Cash will have a trick up his sleeve depending on how the first two games go.

Like Porcello, Cashner’s last game out was a masterpiece. The newest member of the Red Sox got his first taste of the rivalry, and did a great job. Cashner went 6.2 innings, allowing three runs off of ten hits, allowing him to get his first win in a Red Sox uniform. When Alex Cora took him out in the seventh, the Fenway Faithful gave him a well deserved standing ovation.

Can Boston win the Battle for Second Place in the AL East?

With the trade deadline in eyesight, both Boston and Tampa Bay have questions that need to be answered. For the Rays, it’s their rotation. For Boston, it’s the bullpen. This past weekend, Tampa Bay got to work, trading for Toronto’s Eric Sogard on Sunday. They also traded Hunter Wood and Christian Arroyo to Cleveland for prospect Ruben Cardenas.

As for Boston, rumors that they are in the process of getting either Edwin Diaz or Ken Giles are still out there. Both closers would be a good fit for Boston. Of course, what happens between now and then is up to Dave Dombrowski. Both this series and the next one are important for Boston. The defending World Series Champions need to stay hot if they went to get to October.

Andrew Benintendi Continues to Stay Hot

Although the Red Sox couldn’t cap off a sweep to finish off what was a very successful series against the Yankees, there was a ton of encouraging signs by this Red Sox team. One of which came from Andrew Benintendi, who looks like he might have turned a corner. As Benintendi continues his hot streak, the Red Sox will likely do so as well.

Benintendi’s July has been encouraging (he currently is batting just under .300 for thebenintendi continues month) but it was this past 4-game series, which helped solidify in my mind that his bat isn’t done cooling off.

Overall, Benenitendi finished 10 for 18 (.555 AVG), with 2 home runs, 6 RBI’s, and 8 scored runs. This is when Andrew Benenintedi is truly at his best. He doesn’t need to be the powerhouse of the lineup. Bringing a consistent night of offensive production is what is needed to keep this lineup continuing to operating like the efficient machine that it is.  Benintendi continues to become a consistent offensive contributor in each game, especially against the Yankees this past weekend.

Benintendi Continues His Tear

You can make the case that Benintendi’s production this past weekend was due to the Yankees atrocious starting pitching (good point). Or it was the fact that almost every positional player on the Red Sox had a great weekend (also, good point). It’s hard not to get excited though when someone as inconsistent as Benentindi has been, shows up and provides quality at-bats with offensive production. With the trade deadline only days away this could be one of the better additions to Red Sox could make to their starting lineup. Not that any are really in need of any offensive additions. A productive Benintendi for the dog days of August and the stretch run in September could be an offensive boost that fans have sought. Let us hope that this wasn’t a fluke month or series. Benintendi’s bat is here to stay for the remainder of the season and into the playoffs.

The Red Sox are Finally Halfway Through the Season

The All Star game and Home Run Derby are finally done. Now the Red Sox are halfway through the season with one goal in mind. That goal – Make it to the postseason. It sounds like a long shot, but hopefully with some motivation, it can be done.

Over the past few days, the Red Sox have been involved in trade talks, especially when ithalfway through comes to pitching. One thing to note is that they are in the process of moving postseason hero, Nathan Eovaldi to the bullpen. At 49-41, the Red Sox are two games out of the Wild Card. The question now is, can they do what it takes to see October?

A lot of Questions Halfway Through the Season

Right now, the Red Sox are in third place in the American League East. The two teams in front of them, the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays, have been on a ht streak for some time now. As we saw in London, the Yankees aren’t slowing down anytime soon. As for the Rays, they are 4-3 in July, and finished the half with the fourth best record in team history.

One thing that these two teams have that the Red Sox are lacking is solid pitching. For Tampa Bay, two of their pitchers are in the top ten in ERA, with Charlie Morton in the number one spot. The Yankees, who have one of the better bullpens in the Majors, have a successful closer in Aroldis Chapman. Right now, he is leading the league with twenty four saves.

The big question for the Red Sox is the bullpen. One bright spot in the bullpen for Boston is Brandon Workman. Right now, he is 8-1 with a 1.79 ERA. In 2019, Workman has pitched in 43 games, logging 40.1 innings and striking out fifty five batters. This is all well and good, however, the rest of the bullpen needs a wake up call.

At the halfway point, the bullpen has blown eighteen saves, and are behind the New York Mets who have blown twenty one. Last season, the Red Sox only had twenty blown saves. At this rate, they’re looking at not only passing last season’s blown saves, but possibly doubling the eighteen they have now.

Another question mark is the rotation. With both Chris Sale and Rick Porcello having off years, it’s tough not to think about adding another arm to the mix. Right now, one of the rumors is that the Red Sox might be trading for another starter. This will help big time, especially later in the season. We saw how that worked out last season with the trade for Nathan Eovaldi.

Is The Magic Gone?

No, really, is it? Think about it. Last season, the Red Sox were 68-30 at the halfway point. This season, they’re 49-41. In the offseason, the only major impacts were that Joe Kelly and Craig Kimbrel left. Other than that, the team is practically the same. Granted, no team has won back to back championships since the Yankees did it in 1999 and 2000. Actually, they won three times in a row, but that’s another story.

Mookie Betts and the rest of the line up are slowly waking up, and getting the ball in play. The call up of Michael Chavis and the emergence of Rafael Devers in his second full season has definitely helped the Red Sox. As for the pitching part, time can only tell what will happen next. In a few short weeks, the trade deadline will be here. Will the Red Sox be buyers, or sellers? Will Dave Dombrowski do what needs to be done to get this team back to the postseason? Red Sox Nation only hopes that he will.

Rafael Devers surging as Red Sox find offensive stride

Things looked bleak for the Red Sox after a mini-sweep at the hands of New York Yankees just under a month ago. The offense had been anemic most of the season, the rotation getting rocked on the mound, and the bullpen had just blown a late lead to lose the series. If the team was going to turn things around, somebody (virtually everybody) at the plate had to step up. Somebody had to catch fire. Rafael Devers surging at the plate was just what the doctor ordered for the resilient Sox.

Rafael Devers surging at the plate has helped carry a revitalized offenseRafael Devers surging

Since that frustrating New York series, the Sox have responded to go 16-6 over their last 22 games. A major factor in that has been the brilliant hitting of Devers. While not showcasing tremendous power, the 22-year-old has instead broken out and piled on the hits. Devers left New York hitting .262 with a .659 OPS. Since then, the young stud has risen his average 74 points and his OPS a whopping 205. Over those 22 games, Devers has ripped multiple hits in 11 of them, including back-to-back-to-back three hit performances over the weekend. He’s driven in 19 of his 21 RBI, with seven coming in just his previous three games. Not to mention, he also leads the team with five stolen bases on the year.

It’s no secret that the impact Devers has on the middle to bottom of the order has put him at the forefront of run production. Among the club, Devers ranks first in games played (41, the only player to appear in every game), hits (50), doubles (12), average (.336), and ranks second in on base percentage (.408). His OBP against right-handed pitchers is a staggering .444. If there was any doubt of whether or not he could pull out of his early season scuffling, it has been put to rest. The third-year player is giving new meaning to the term “hot corner.”

This year’s strides make sense of Devers’ sophomoric struggles last season

In 2018, Devers failed to adjust back to the league once the league figured out how to throw to him. He struck out 121 times to just 44 walks, plate discipline and the high fastball often representing a problem. An average below .250 and an OPS below .800 certainly did not help either. But so far this season, his ratio has improved considerably, having struck out just 24 times to 19 walks.

With Miguel Andujar struggling for the Yankees, Devers has a real opportunity to thrust himself into the conversation for the best third baseman in the division. He might even be competing to make that claim across the AL, Among qualifiers, Devers ranks first in average, tied for third in hits, and fourth in OBP. If Devers can continue this torrid stretch, then the sky is the limit for the young third baseman.

The Boston Blame Game

Right now, the Red Sox are hanging on for dear life near the bottom of the division. The only real bright spot is the sweep of the Rays in Tampa. Many fans were happy that the core group from last year is back. However, many are wondering if more could have been done. Thus begins the Boston blame game.

With the departures of Joe Kelly to the Dodgers and Craig Kimbrel to the unknown, theboston blame Red Sox bullpen is a mystery. The same can be said for the rest of the roster. In the past, however, the bullpen in Boston has been a wildcard. You never know what is going to happen next.

Where Does the Boston Blame Lie?

There are so many things that have and can go wrong. There are also many things that can go right. However, for the Red Sox, not much has gone right for them. Where do we begin? How about the very quiet Boston offseason.

This past offseason following the World Series win was kind of quiet in Boston. While other teams were signing and trading, It seemed like not a lot was going on in the front office. The most that was done was the trade that brought relief pitcher, Colten Brewer to Boston. Brewer, who is entering his second season in the majors, played for the San Diego Padres last season.

Many teams were trading right off the bat. Teams such as the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays make some big moves to make their teams as successful as they are now. Probably the least shocking issues was the free agent market. With big names like Manny Machado and Bryce Harper not signing deals right away, it’s no surprise that many players are still waiting.

Still, even with most of the champs staying in Boston, it’s hard not to point fingers and blame the front office for not doing more. Dave Dombrowski basically stated that he didn’t want to do a whole lot. That was evident, especially with relievers going to other teams in free agency. I get it, you want the core team to stick together and keep winning. However, it’s almost May, and the Red Sox are falling behind.

Spring Training

It’s tough to not look at the Red Sox’s Spring Training record and question what could have gone differently. Alex Cora and company only allowed the core starters to pitch certain innings and games. This has led to a slow start for guys like Chris Sale and Rick Porcello. Both starters have been open with their struggles, and blame themselves for the lack of good pitching during their regular season starts.

The Bullpen

Anytime Red Sox Nation sees a pitcher warming up in the bullpen, we either get a good feeling, or a bad feeling. For example, in the game against the New York Yankees on April 17th, Nathan Eovaldi was pitching a good game, and was taken out in the 7th inning. Brandon Workman came in, and gave up a single, and walked two batters before being taken out with the bases loaded and one out in the inning. This led to Brett Gardner hitting the game winning grand slam off of Ryan Braiser.

As of right now, the bullpen consists of Workman, Braiser, Matt Barnes, Brewer, Heath Hembree, Travis Lakins, Tyler Thornburg and Marcus Walden. Many of these pitchers, with the exception of Lakins, have many years of major league experience. Lakins, who was called up and made his MLB debut on April 23rd against Detroit has an ERA of 3.38. He went 2.2 innings, striking out two in the loss to the Tigers.

The Future

The Red Sox have a lot of work to do over the next few weeks. With many players on the injured list, the bright spot is seeing rookie Michael Chavis contributing to the club. The infielder made his Major League debut against Tampa Bay on April 20th. So far, he is batting .214, with one home run and two RBI’s. He has also transitioned to second base, after playing third and first in the minors.

Does Red Sox Nation still trust Cora? It’s tough to tell. The Red Sox haven’t been playing their best, and when they do, it’s only one or two games. There are many factors in the Boston blame game, however, some are more evident than others.

With May right around the corner, it’s a guess that the Red Sox will turn a corner. A corner in which it shows them heading to the top. After all, we are the defending World Series Champions.

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.