UK Red Sox Fans Bask in Glory of London Series

The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees kicked off the inaugural London Series on June 29th in London, England. In what the MLB plans to be an annual event, the Red Sox and Yankees enthralled almost 60,000 fans at Queen Elizabeth Stadium in London that saw the Yankees win both games. Many American baseball fans made the epic trek across the pond for the series while a large number of UK Red Sox fans came to root for their favorite baseball team.

Little did I know that in the United Kingdom (UK) exists a large UK Red Sox fanbase. They haveUK Red Sox their own Facebook page, and their fans’ love for the Red Sox know no bounds. I spoke with Adam Perry, the moderator of the Boston Red Sox Fans of the UK Facebook page, to learn more about his, and other UK fans’, love for the Red Sox.

“I was a Red Sox fan rather than a baseball fan,” Perry told me in a July 8th Skype interview. “And because of that you kind of get to know the game, the intricacies, the players, the history. So that was the start of it for me. I mean everybody has different reasons for doing it. And when [UK fan club] did start gathering, which was about 20 years ago before the advent of social media, we used to just gather together in a sports bar in London and used to watch the games. We were one of the first sort of supporters or fans of any US sports team that were doing this, which is quite unique.”

Perry wasn’t the only fan that I got to speak with about their love for the Red Sox. After posting a message to their Facebook group asking other fans to talk about how they became fans, I was inundated with dozens of messages, notes, and postings from UK Red Sox fans detailing their love for baseball.

UK Red Sox Fans Love the Game As Much As Americans Do

Janine Pipe stated, “I became a fan after honeymooning in Boston during the famous ALCS in 2004.”

Philip Harris’ love for the Red Sox started with a teacher. “[It was] 1965. I had an American exchange teacher (I was 7-8 years old) who came from Boston and taught me about the Celtics, Bruins, and Sox. Been a fan ever since.”

Sam “Mulldog” Mullan’s love for the Red Sox came from a G.I. his aunt married. “My aunt married a US G.I. after WW2 and moved to Boston. Every time they visited they’d bring something Sox related. One of my baby photos was me in a Red Sox baby grow. Played baseball on the UK for Plymouth Mariners and loved the game! Saw my first game in 2004 and every season I have seen a game at Fenway they have won the World Series.”

Ceri Lewis said, “I’m Welsh. A Celt. So took an interest in the Celtics. Then came the Patriots in 1984. Seemed logical. I was 12 years old. The Red Sox sort of followed but it was baseball I truly fell for. My 25th birthday surprise from my wife was a trip to Fenway. I shook at the sight of the Green Monster. From the outside! I cried. It was wonderful. That was 1997. My fascination became a full blown love affair.”

Christopher Pease’s love began with a baseball movie. “My journey into becoming Sox fan began after seeing The Natural in 1984. It was my first experience of anything baseball and I fell in love with the game at that moment. Following the game was very difficult back then. Two week old copies of USA Today from stores near the American Embassy in London and late night radio broadcasts on Armed Forces Network had to satisfy my growing interest. Luckily British Television broadcast the 1986 [World Series] and I found my team.”

So how did these fans feel about the London Series?

“My Red Sox came to my home town,” Lewis added. “I am still buzzing now. I just wished they brought a feckin bullpen too.”

UK Red Sox Fans A Little Miffed With Team Snub

While most UK Fans were more than thrilled to see the Red Sox come to London, some were disappointed that the Red Sox organization didn’t do more to reach out to its UK Red Sox fans.

“The Yankees came and they did some community stuff,” Perry added. “They brought [some] legends over. But the Red Sox didn’t do anything. We tried to engage and the numbers that we had, I asked if they could send somebody over…to come to our meets on a Saturday.”

It was Major League Baseball, not the Red Sox or Yankees, that oversaw all the operations for the London Series. That fact may explain why the Red Sox did not take on a larger role in reaching out to its UK fanbase; the MLB planned everything. Regardless, Perry thinks the Red Sox could have shown a little more attention to UK Red Sox fans.

“They missed a big opportunity…that’s the one real disappointing thing I think of the whole weekend and beforehand. And I don’t know why that is. I think the Yankees, believe it or not, we’re better at it. They don’t have many fans that they invited some of their fans to meet some of the players on the flight.”

While Pease loved the series, he echoed Perry’s views. “My only gripe was the lack of Red Sox interaction with fans here. Alex Cora did not seem happy to be here either. The Yankees, however, brought over several alumni including Nick Swisher who really had fun meeting fans and young players during the weekend.”

That doesn’t mean, however, that he didn’t have fun.

“We spent several years looking forward to the London Series and it was so amazing, almost dream like,” Pease added. “Next year just isn’t going to be the same even though I will be rooting for Theo’s boys!”

The Dodgers Return to Fenway for a World Series Rematch

The last time we saw the Dodgers was game five of the World Series in Los Angeles. It is a game many in Red Sox Nation will never forget. From the stellar performance by David Price, to Steve Pearce’s home run, one of many. Oh, and my personal favorite, when Chris Sale struck out Manny Machado to win it all. Now, here we are, nine months later for the World Series rematch.

While Boston is looking to climb higher in the American League East, the Dodgers areworld series rematch looking to continue their success this season. The Dodgers, who are 60-32 in the National League West, are looking to not only seek revenge on the Red Sox, but look to return to the spotlight in October.

A Highly Anticipated World Series Rematch

As mentioned above, the last time we saw the Dodgers was back in the World Series. October 28th to be exact. While the Red Sox ultimately won it all on the West Coast in game five, you would have thought that they were playing in Boston. The Fenway Faithful came out in full support of the Red Sox that night, and for the parade that followed.

The match up was perfect in every sense. From Alex Cora managing a team in his rookie year, to Dave Roberts managing in Dodger blue, every game was critical. Now, here we are, about to embark on a three game set at Fenway Park. Though it’s not October, it will have an October feel like never before.

Game one will feature Eduardo Rodriguez going up against Kenta Maeda. Rodriguez will be looking for win number ten on the season. The last time Rodriguez faced the Dodgers was at Dodger Stadium in game four. In that start, he went 5.2 innings, allowing four runs, including a home run to Yasiel Puig. Maeda also pitched in that game, going 1/3 of an inning allowing one run on two hits.

Game two will feature Chris Sale vs Ross Stripling, while the finale will feature David Price vs Hyun-Jin Ryu. All three of these games are critical to the Red Sox as they get closer and closer to the trade deadline. Also, after the series against Los Angeles, they will face Toronto for four games before heading to Baltimore.

The Return of Joe Kelly and Rich Hill

Last time we saw Joe Kelly he was in a Red Sox uniform, surrounded by his teammates after winning the World Series. The next time we saw him was on a duck boat in Boston with the World Series trophy. Now, he will be returning to Boston in Dodger blue for a World Series rematch, and receiving his well deserved World Series ring.

Not only did he trade in the red for the blue, but he traded in the number 56 for the number 17. Since signing a three year deal with Los Angeles back in December, Kelly has pitched in 30 games, going 3-3 with a 5.28 ERA. He has pitched in 30.2 innings while striking out 37 batters. The former Red Sox and Cardinal pitcher last pitched on July 6th against the San Diego Padres, pitching one inning and striking out two batters. Unfortunately, neither strikeout was to Manny Machado. Sorry Red Sox fans.

Another familiar face is Rich Hill. The Milton, MA native will be returning to Fenway Park in Dodger blue as well. Hill pitched for his hometown team from 2010-2012, and in 2015. Right now, he is in his fourth season with Los Angeles. Although he isn’t with the Red Sox organization anymore, Hill and his wife are in the process of raising one million dollars for Mass General Hospital to support research for a rare genetic disease that claimed the life of their young son. During the series, the Red Sox organization will be assisting the Hill family with their campaign.

First Homestand of the Second Half

This homestand is crucial for the Red Sox. With the Yankees and Rays tearing it up in the American League East, the Red Sox need to keep their heads above water. Also, we are a few short weeks away from the trade deadline. Last time the Red Sox won the World Series, 2014 saw the team sell most of their rotation. Pitchers such as Jake Peavy and Jon Lester were traded off. From there, the front office kept selling, causing many in Red Sox Nation to panic. Will we see that again this July 31st? Only time can tell.

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.

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.

Final Fenway Homestand Before The London Series

After going 5-1 on the road trip, the Red Sox head to Fenway to play in the final homestead before the London series against the Yankees. Going into the road trip, the Red Sox won two straight games. In Baltimore, they swept the Orioles, and did some damage at the plate. After Baltimore, they went to the Twin City to take on the first place Minnesota Twins. Although it was a tough series, Boston did pretty well, taking two of three. Slowly, but surely, the Red Sox are going in the right direction.

Now, we head home to Fenway Park to take on the Toronto Blue Jays and the Chicagolondon series White Sox. After two off days, the Red Sox will host the Yankees at London Stadium in the UK for the MLB London Series.

Red Sox Take on the Blue Jays and their Rookies

Yes, that’s plural. The Blue Jays have called up some big names over the past few months. The last time we saw the Jays in Toronto, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was in the big leagues. Now, Cavan Biggio – son of Hall of Famer Craig Biggio – is on the scene.

Starting Friday, three rookies – Biggio, Guerrero Jr. and Michael Chavis will be playing at Fenway Park. All three are also battling for the Rookie of the Year Award. It will be interesting to see them play at Fenway this weekend, as this is the first time the Jays rookies will be at Fenway.

Right now, the Jays are in fourth place behind the Red Sox. Their last series against the LA Angels didn’t go as planned – loosing 3 of the 4 games at home in Toronto. The last game had some star power, as Toronto Raptors Kawhi Leonard was in the building after winning the NBA Finals and the Finals MVP Award. After the Red Sox series, the Jays head to New York to face the Yankees.

The White Sox Invasion

After doing some damage in Chicago, the Red Sox face the White Sox in a rematch at Fenway Park. After splitting a two-game series against the Cubs, the White Sox head to Texas to face the Rangers before coming to Boston. They are currently in third place in the AL Central, and are 35-37.

One bright spot for the White Sox is pitcher Lucas Giolito. The 24 year old starter is currently 10-2 with a 2.74 ERA. His first loss came back on April 6th, and his last one was against the Cubs this past week. If things line up, then the Red Sox might be the next team he faces. The Red Sox did face him back on May 2nd in Chicago, getting seven hits and five runs off of him. However, Giolito received the no-decision in the game.

Hoping For a Great Homestand Before the London Series

Following the Blue Jays and White Sox, Boston heads across the pond. There, they play two games against the Yankees at London Stadium. The series should be interesting, especially since both teams haven’t played at London Stadium before.

The Red Sox have their work cut out for them before heading to London. They’re currently seven games behind the first place Yankees. The Yankees will also be at home this weekend and leading up to London. Their first opponent is the first place Houston Astros.

A Home Run Derby in Baltimore

After winning the last two games at home, the Red Sox went to Baltimore looking to add onto the win streak. That’s just what they did. The line up in the first game went to work early, and dished out a 13-2 victory. Brock Holt’s two run home run sparked a mini home run derby for Boston. In total, the Red Sox hit six home runs.

Between strong pitching, and heavy hitting, Boston swept Baltimore at Camden Yards.home run derby The line up added onto the home run total, hitting a total of nine home runs. JD Martinez hit three home runs, and overtook the team lead with 16 altogether. With the sweep, the Red Sox have now won five games in a row! They now move onto Target Field and the Twins.

Game One’s Home Run Derby Leads Boston to Victory

After splitting the series against Texas at Fenway, the Red Sox looked to do some damage in Baltimore. After being down 1-0, Brock Holt responded with a two run home run in the second inning. This sparked a great rally by Boston bats. A total of six home runs, and a strong start by Eduardo Rodriguez led Boston to a wild win.

Christian Vazquez hit a solo home run in the fourth inning, while Martinez hit a two run home run shortly after. Jackie Bradley Jr. joined in on the fun in the fifth, with a two run home run. The AL Rookie of the Year hopeful Michael Chavis also hit a two run shot in the same inning. JD Martinez, being JD, hit another home run as well.

Eduardo Rodriguez, looking for his seventh win, went seven innings, allowing six hits and one earned run. He also struck out four. The bullpen did their part as well, with solid innings by Travis Lakins and Josh Smith.

A Pitcher’s Duel in Game Two

Chris Sale got the start for Boston as they were looking to continue their hot streak. After a silent five innings, Boston punched a hole in the runs column, scoring three in the sixth inning. Xander Bogaerts run scoring double put the Sox up 1-0. From there, Brock Holt scored Bogaerts with a single, and a costly error by Baltimore scored Holt. JD Martinez also contributed with his team leading 16th home run in the seventh inning to solidify the home run derby.

With Sale dominating on the mound, Boston’s lead was pretty safe. Sale pitched six innings, allowing two runs while striking out ten. Four more runs by Boston will allow them to win 7-2, and Sale to pick up win number three. Marcus Walden, Matt Barnes and Brandon Workman did great out of the bullpen. The three men pitched the remainder of the game, allowing two hits, and striking out five to seal the deal.

The Sunday Finale vs The Orioles

This win was a little tougher to get, as Boston edged out Baltimore 8-6. The game did go into the tenth, but late inning home runs by Marco Hernandez and Rafael Devers led Boston to victory.

Brian Johnson got the start for the Red Sox on Sunday. He pitched three innings, allowing one run and striking out two. This was his first start off the injured list, so Cora and company didn’t want to push him too much. The bullpen took over from there, with Brandon Workman getting the win, his fifth of the season.

Probably the most impressive part of the game was the five run tenth inning. After Hernandez tied it in the ninth with his first home run of the season, Boston scored five in the tenth. This was led by Devers’ mammoth home run-a 458 foot shot-to lead it off.

Boston Looks to Continue the Streak in Minnesota

Rick Porcello has the ball in game one against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. The Twins, who are 47-23, took two out of three against the Kansas City Royals at home. Also this past weekend the Twins retired long time catcher Joe Mauer’s number 7. Mauer, who retired after last season, was a home grown Twin. He spent fifteen seasons in the Twin City, winning the AL MVP Award in 2009. Near the end of his career, Mauer played first base and DH’ed.