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.

Final Interleague Showdown at Fenway

The Red Sox will host the San Francisco Giants in the final interleague showdown at Fenway Park. The last time the Red Sox played the Giants was back in 2016, in which the Red Sox won both games at Fenway Park. Now, the Giants are back, and are looking to take the series in Boston.

After taking both games from Philly, the Red Sox look to continue that momentum startingfinal interleague showdown Tuesday night. Game one ended with a 2-1 victory for Boston, while game two had some offensive power with a 6-3 win. With Mookie Betts out of the line up, Christan Vazquez showed some power, hitting a grand slam and a solo home run in the second game.

This Series Will Be One to Remember

For some of the Giants, this will be a series to remember. Lexington, MA native and former Boston College player, Chris Shaw, will probably be in the line up at some point in the series. The left fielder made his MLB debut in August 2018. Another name to remember is Tyler Beede. The starting pitcher isn’t scheduled to start, but the Worcester, MA native will definitely have butterflies as he comes out of the visitors dugout. Like Shaw, Beede made his debut in 2018.

Two former Red Sox prospects are also members of the Giants. Mauricio Dubon and Shaun Anderson will be getting some playing time as well against the Red Sox. Both Dubon and Anderson made their MLB debuts this season.

Many Red Sox fans will remember this reliever. Fernando Abad will be returning to Fenway Park as a member of the Giants. Abad pitched for Boston in 2016 and 2017, going 2-3 in 66 games.

Final Interleague Showdown Matchup

In the final interleague showdown of the 2019 season, the Red Sox will be sending Nathan Eovaldi to face Logan Webb. Last time out for Eovaldi was against Toronto on September 10th. He went 4.1 innings, allowing three runs off of six hits. In twenty games this season, he is 1-0 with a 5.81 ERA through 52.2 innings. Webb will be making his sixth MLB start on Tuesday night. He made his MLB debut on August 17th against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Webb is 1-2 with a 6.75 ERA in five starts.

Jhoulys Chacin will have the ball in game two against Jeff Samardzija. Last time Chacin pitched against the Giants was back on July 14th when he was with the Brewers. He went five innings, allowing one earned run off of four hits, while strikig out five. He is looking to earn his fourth win of 2019. Samardzjia is looking for his eleventh win of 2019. Last time out for him was on September 12th against the Pirates. He took the loss, going 6.1 innings, allowing four runs off of eight hits.

The afternoon game of the final interleague showdown features two aces. Eduardo Rodriguez will be going up against Madison Bumgarner. Eduardo Rodriguez is lookign for win number eighteen. Last time out resulted in a no decision against the Phillies. He went 6.2 innings, allowing four hits and one run, while striking out twelve batters. Bumgarner is looking for his tenth win of the season against the Red Sox. Last time out against the Marlins, he went seven innings, allowing two runs off of four hits in the no decision.

Tribute to Bruce Bochy

At the end of the 2019 season, Giants manager Bruce Bochy will retire. the 64 year old from France has managed the Giants since 2007, winning three World Series Championships. He was also named Manager of the Year in 1996 with the Padres. Prior to the Giants, he was the manager of the San Diego Padres from 1995 – 2006. He played at the Major League level from 1978-1987 for the Houston Astros, New York Mets, and the San Diego Padres. Lifetime, he has a batting average of .239, with 26 home runs and 93 RBI’s in his career. As a manager, he is 1,997-2,022 going into Tuesday’s game.

Born on a U.S. military base in France, Bochy moved a lot as a child, eventually graduating high school in Melbourne, Florida. He was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in 1975, but chose to attend Brevard Community College. In the 1975 Supplemental draft, Bochy was drafted in the first round by the Houston Astros. From there, the legacy of Bruce Bochy began.

In May 2011, Bochy was honored with the Ronald L Jensen Award for Lifetime Achievement. He was also honored by his former Community College, who named their baseball field after him in 2011. The final interleague showdown will be the last one for Bochy, and like the other teams the Giants faced in 2019, I’m sure the Red Sox have something planned for him.

Another Yaz in the Outfield

Saving the best for last. Yes, the name Yastrzemski will be heard at Fenway this coming series. No, Carl didn’t decide to come out of retirement to play some ball. His grandson, rookie outfielder Mike Yastrzemski will be in town with the Giants. The 29 year old rookie was traded to the Giants prior to the start of the season by the Baltimore Orioles. He made his MLB debut on May 25th against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Since then, Yaz is having a great season.

In 96 games, Mike has 87 hits, 19 home runs, with 51 RBI’s so far. He has a batting average of .265 in 328 at-bats. Now, he is set to face his childhood baseball team. Unlike his grandfather, he wears the number 5. Bruce Bochy revealed in a press conference that Yaz will be starting in all three games for the Giants, which will allow Red Sox fans to see the younger Yaz play the same position his Hall of Fame grandfather played at Fenway Park.

Will Carl be at Fenway to see his grandson play at the big league level? Yes, but Carl told the Boston Globe in an interview that he will be there for the game on Wednesday night. In the interview, he stated that he wants Mike to have his own career, and he tries not to get too involved, since the game has changed a lot since he played. Either way, it’ll be a great series for both Carl and Mike. Who knows, maybe the younger Yaz will play in Boston one day.

Red Sox Learning To Take The Lead In Late Innings

One of the things that frustrated Red Sox Nation last year was the team’s inability to come from behind. An opposing team would outscore them, and the Red Sox couldn’t catch up. They’d load the bases but their hitter would strike out. Or they’d leave runners in scoring position inning after inning. In fact, they led the American League last year in runners left on base. With the Red Sox learning how to take the offensive in later inningRed Sox learnings fans are finally seeing a different tone.

Four of their eight wins as of April 17th were come-from-behind victories. Red Sox found themselves behind the Pittsburg Pirates during their makeup game on the 13th. Down 3-1 going into the 8th, Hanley Ramirez’s doubled home the winning run. The Red Sox did it again on Easter Sunday three days later against Tampa Bay. Down 5-4 in the seventh, the Red Sox rallied to pull ahead 7-5 by the ninth inning.

Even in instances where they didn’t win, they still showed strong effort. In an April 12th game against the Orioles, the Red Sox were down 9-0 going into the third. Despite losing the game, they finished the game 12-5. Win or lose, this was an issue the Red Sox sorely needed to work on from last season.

“The one thing that’s starting to show is that we’ve come from behind a number of games already,” manager John Farrell said in an article posted to Full Count on Weei.com.

With The Red Sox Learning To Come From Behind, Pitching Remains a Problem

I don’t think anyone anticipated the problems that the Red Sox rotation would have going into the 2017 season. We expected to see David Price at this point but he’s still down and out. Rick Porcello and Steve Wrignt have already taken their fair share of devastating losses. The Matt Barnes fiasco with Manny Machado isn’t helping things either.

Last year’s pitching was strong. Price dominated with strikeouts and Porcello became a 20-game winner. It was the offense that struggled at times. Now that the offense is heating up. it’s the pitching that’s struggling. If Farrell can find that balance the team needs, the Red Sox will be able to capture and hold onto first place.

Red Sox Rally To Beat Pirates In Makeup Game

The Boston Red Sox played an exciting make-up game against the Pittsburg Pirates Thursday afternoon. It started off rough for starter Eduardo Rodriguez. The southpaw surrendered a home run to Andrew McClutchen in the first inning to give the Pirates a 2-0 lead. The thin and dejected crowd at Fenway Park settled into their seats to watch what they thought would be another loss. But a Red Sox rally in the bottom of the 8th changed all that. This important victory represented so much more though. The offensive and defensive strategies used in this game are exactly what the Sox need to use from now on. It’s exactly what will help dig them out of holes.

Down 3-1 going into the 8th, Hanley Ramirez’s double drove home the winning run. A replay,red sox rally however, showed that the Pirates catcher tagged Mookie Betts before he could touch home plate. So instead of Betts representing the winning run, he was out and the score remained tied. After the Pirates intentionally walked Mitch Moreland, Xander Bogarts hit a go-ahead single to right allowing Ramirez, who had advanced to third, to score the winning run.

The Red Sox Nation erupted in cheers.

This victory was unique in that it didn’t turn into another lazy loss. More often than not fans have seen the Red Sox fall behind, and stay there. Rallies late in the game often come up short. John Farrell would have untested players pinch hit only to see them fail to get on base. Pitchers couldn’t retire the side and had to come out. At times, watching the Sox fall behind was like getting caught in quicksand. The more they struggled, the deeper they sank. So it was good to see that change, even if it was only for an afternoon.

Red Sox Rally Possible In Part to Christian Vazquez’s Defensive Skills

The Red Sox offensive wasn’t the only thing on fire yesterday. Christian Vazquez displayed a level of skill behind the plate that was a show in its own. Vazquez threw out Starling Marte at second in the 6th. What made Vazquez’s cannonball throw to second all the more impressive was that Marte stole 47 bases last year with an 80% success rate. Vazquez did it again in the top of the 9th, this time against Adam Frazier. Vazquez has thrown out 46% attempted base runners, definitely not a number to ignore.

Red Sox Nation saw the kind of solid offense and defense needed to win games. While Eduardo Rodriguez stumbled out of the gate in the 1st, he and the subsequent relievers managed to get it together long enough for Craig Kimbrel to save the game. And while opposing teams will now have a better idea of the team’s strengths and weaknesses, the Red Sox can also use this opportunity to reassess what works when they’re trying to rally.

The team has been on the receiving end of criticism about their inability to bounce back later in games. The Red Sox rally over Pittsburg showed that may no longer be the case.

Red Sox Acquire Ryan Cook from A’s

The Red Sox had a quiet trade deadline not dealing any of the veterans many of us expected them to. Mike Napoli and Alejandro De Aza were still in the lineup for Friday nights game with the Rays, while many Sox fans feel the Sox need to look elsewhere and give the younger players a shot.

The Sox did make one small move in acquiring A’s pitcher Ryan Cook. Cook, now 28, was the A’s former closer, who was an All-Star in 2012.Ryan Cook It is expected Cook will be activated tomorrow and supply some help in the Red Sox depleted bullpen. Cook was pitching in Triple-A Nashville, but did appear in 4 games with the A’s this season allowing 5 runs. He also was once traded for now teammate Craig Breslow, when he was a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Cook had a 4.05 ERA in 30 appearances with the Nashville Sounds this season, so the Red Sox seem to be taking a flier on a player they expect to rebound while controlling him for two additional years. Cook does come cheap, as the Sox will either surrender a player to be named later or cash in the deal. Cook spent two stints on the disabled list last season but this year has been working to get his effectiveness back, as he sometimes has trouble find the plate.

Obviously the Red Sox did not seem to find a taker for any bad contracts they have signed in recent years and did not want to deal of of their prospects with many of the top prospects in the lower levels. The Red Sox bowed out of the Cole Hamels sweepstakes after Hamels had listed the Red Sox on his no trade list but I feel if they offered to pick up his option for 2020 he would likely have approved the deal. Tyson Ross’ name was tossed around Friday as well who were looking for a shortstop of the future but apparently Deven Marrero was not the shortstop they were looking for.

The Red Sox can still make moves until August 31 but the player needs to pass through waivers to be dealt. Mike Napoli and his salary would likely pass through waivers but the Pirates who were rumored to have interest in Napoli, acquired Michael Morse on Friday so they seem to have a right handed hitter to platoon as first.

FREE PASS

Clay Buchholz

Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Clay Buchholz delivers to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first inning of an exhibition spring training baseball game in Fort Myers, Fla., Saturday, March 23, 2013. Photo: Elise Amendola

It was the bottom of the third, I began to watch yesterday’s game. Mike Napoli was at bat. There were no outs and no one on base. The score, 2-1, Sox.

Napoli strikes out and Will Middlebrooks is up. Middlebrooks hits a triple rounding the bases to third. One out and Jarrod Saltalamacchia is up for the Sox. He hits an RBI and Middlebrooks runs home. The score now 3-1.  Two more pop flies to the outfield and the inning is over.

Today’s game was smooth and steady until Clay Buchholz allowed his first walk, FREE PASS, of the day, in the top of the sixth.

Junichi Tazawa walks to the mound and the day is called for Buchholz. Tazawa ends the inning as he allows one base hit for a double play. He seems quite impressive on the mound, but only until he walks two of the Pirate’s players (two FREE PASSES), at the top of the eighth. The score is still 3-1 and the Sox are up, but there are no outs. Manager John Farrell walks to the mound where Tazawa and catcher David Ross reside. Pitcher Anthony Carter takes over. The defensive team becomes sloppy all of a sudden and the dynamics shift.  A slap bunt to Xander Boegart causes an error in the field as he throws passed Mike Napoli to attempt the inning’s first out. The Pirates score two runs tying the game. WIth a man on second and the Pirates’, Alvarez up to bat, there is a chance to take the lead. Homerun! It is 5-3, Pirates.  With two outs and no man on base, Anthony Carter hands out another FREE PASS.  Fortunately nothing came of it but a walk to first base.

It’s the bottom of the eighth. Dustin Pedroia is up to bat.  Strike three! He swings and misses.  That’s four strike outs in the game for Pedroia with no hits. Mike Napoli also strikes out leaving today’s stats no better than Pedroia’s. We’ll have to rely on Jacob Ellsbury to get on base. Unfortunately he swings, misses and strikes out.  The bottom of the eighth is over.

It’s the top of the ninth.  Brock Huntzinger takes the mound.  He strikes out the first batter, but the Pirates’ Jose Tabata hits a double into the left field wall. Mercer strikes out, but Carter allows Felix Pie another FREE PASS.

The game didn’t get too interesting until Johnny Gomes took a hit to his left elbow. He ended up having to call it a day.

Pinch hitter, Brian Sweeney takes first and Blake Swihart takes to home plate. There is one out by Lyle Overbay. Swihart attempts a bunt down the third base line, but instead he pops the ball into the infield. It is carelessly dropped but the Pirates make a double play anyway.  No infield fly was called.

It was sheer chaos to end the game and it began with Junichi Tazawa’s two FREE PASSES he allowed at the top of the eighth.