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.