The Start of the Second Half Was All Right

After the All Star break, the Red Sox returned to Fenway, well rested, and ready to go. With the Dodgers and Blue Jays in town for the second half of the season, you’d think that it’d have motivated this team to win both series. However, that wasn’t the case against the hot blue Dodgers. When it came to facing Toronto though, the team woke up.

There are still a lot of unanswered questions in July. The big question is, what will Davesecond half Dombrowski do before the trade deadline? Before the beginning of the season, MLB implemented new guidelines, including only having one trade deadline. The only major move so far was trading for Baltimore Orioles starter, Andrew Cashner.

Before we get into what’s going through Dombrowski and Company’s mind, let’s take a look at the last homestand.

The Highly Anticipated World Series Rematch at Fenway

When MLB released the schedule last season, I doubt that they knew what they were thinking by scheduling the rematch between the Red Sox and Dodgers. Neither team changed too much, which made for a unique series.

Eduardo Rodriguez had the ball in the first game, and absolutely dominated. His record improved to 10-4 on the season after going seven innings, allowing 5 hits and one earned run. E-Rod also struck out ten while allowing two walks. The offense was on fire as well. Rafael Devers, Christian Vasquez and Xander Bogaerts all hit home runs, which propelled the offense to score eight runs.

Game two, however, was a thing of destruction. The man who closed out the World Series, Chris Sale, only lasted 4.2 innings, allowing five runs on seven hits. Despite striking out seven batters, the offense was asleep for the better part of the game. For the Dodgers, the Fenway Faithful got a glimpse of Joe Kelly pitching on the mound in Dodger blue. Kelly pitched one inning of relief, allowing two hits, and one run. The Dodgers took this game, 11-2.

The final game of the series went into extras, and saw the bullpen blow up. In what should have been a Sunday night win for Boston turned into a loss at the hands of David Freese and company. While David Price pitched five solid innings, only allowing one run, the bullpen couldn’t keep it together, even when Boston tied it up in the bottom of the eighth, thanks to back-to-back home runs by Xander Bogaerts and J.D. Martinez. What really stung was when Joe Kelly closed out the bottom of the twelfth inning for the Dodgers.

The Blue Jays Invade Fenway in the Second Half of the Season

After a rough start, Blue Jay Nation came to town, as did Andrew Cashner, the newest member of the Boston rotation. Rick Porcello pitched against the fourth place Blue Jays in game one. Porcello threw six solid innings, only allowing four runs on eight hits. The Red Sox offense went to work early, tagging Blue Jays starter Trent Thornton for five runs in the first inning. Despite the fact that the bullpen allowed six runs in three innings, Porcello got the victory, putting his record at 7-7 on the season.

Andrew Cashner, the newest member of the Red Sox, took the ball in game two. Cashner was pitching in his first game in nine days, and it showed. He went five innings in his Red Sox debut, allowing six runs on eight hits. Despite a first inning home run by Bogaerts, the Red Sox offense was quiet. Jays rookie starter, Jacob Waguespack pitched 4.2 innings, and only allowed the one run in the first inning.

Eduardo Rodriguez, the saving grace of the rotation, took the ball in game three. In 6.1 innings, Rodriguez allowed only two runs off of three hits, while striking out four. Rafael Devers was a contributor in the win by launching his eighteenth home run of the season off of Aaron Sanchez in the third inning. Brandon Workman, who seems to be the savior in the bullpen, earned his fifth save of the season.

In a Thursday afternoon game, Chris Sale had the ball. It should be noted that the real Chris Sale is back. In six innings, Sale only allowed two hits and struck out twelve. The offense tagged Thomas Pannone for four of the five total runs. Both Rafael Devers and Mookie Betts contributed to the runs by launching home runs. Everything seemed to be clicking for Sale in this game, allowing him to get his fourth win of the season, and first at Fenway this season.

First Roadtrip of the Second Half

After going 4-3 in the homestand, the Red Sox head to Baltimore for a three game series, then off to Tropicana Field to take on the second place Tampa Bay Rays. From there, they return home to face the New York Yankees for the first time since the battle in London.

Knowing that we are about a week and a half until the trade deadline, and seeing where we are in the standings, must worry the front office a little bit. With the bullpen seesawing, and the offense slowly picking up speed, a new face in the clubhouse would be a welcoming sign.

Xander Bogaerts MVP case grows by the day

Before we get to the Xander Bogaerts MVP case, let’s give credit it where it’s due. Mike Trout continues to show us all why he may go down as one of the most talented baseball players of all time. Nobody in the league has been able to string together so many Top-2 MVP finishes before turning 30, let alone in their careers.

But the pool of talent in the majors doesn’t just end at Trout. In fact, the crop of Xander Bogaerts MVP caseshortstops currently roaming the middle infields across the show is arguably the most talented group the league has seen in decades. Francisco Lindor, Carlos Correa, Andrelton Simmons, Trevor Story, and Javier Baez are big names that come to mind.

But the one player that has stood up against them all- and might be coming for Trout- is Xander Bogaerts.

Bogaerts has surged ahead of other AL infielders

The Xander Bogaerts MVP case is a movement that has really gained steam over the last two months. With the aforementioned deep talent pool, there’s an awful lot of competition for the league’s top shortstop each year. Perhaps unbelievably, it could be argued that Bogaerts quietly ascended to the top spot, as flashy seasons by Lindor and Correa often stole the spotlight from Boston’s recently extended star. That’s no longer the case.

Understanding the Xander Bogaerts MVP case can be as simple as looking at his eye popping numbers. Just this last week, he came off a stretch in which he recorded at least 1 hit, 1 run, and 1 RBI in a historical 8 straight games. The only other Red Sox in club history to achieve that? Ted Williams. Yes, the Splendid Splinter. Ted accomplished the feat twice, with separate streaks of 8 and 11 games. Certainly nothing to sneer at.

Need more convincing? Let’s take a peak at his numbers as a whole. The 26-year-old was slashing .312/.399/.575 entering play on July 17, with 21 HR and 74 RBI. He had homered in 4 of his last 5 games, and in 5 of 7. He joins Trout as the only players in the AL batting .300 or higher with 20+ HR.

Is that enough yet? How about WAR? WAR’s value can vary based on metrics, but according to Fangraphs, Bogaerts’ 4.1 WAR trails only Trout (6.5), Cody Bellinger (5.7) and Christian Yelich (5.2) for tops in the majors. All three of them are MVP candidates that are putting up out-of-this-world numbers. But so is Bogaerts, and that shows that he belongs.

Bogaerts sits just behind Trout in most AL offensive categories

Still have not been told enough in the Xander Bogaerts MVP case? Let’s look at where he places among league leaders across other offensive categories.

He’s T-1st in the AL with Trout in XBH (51), 2nd to Trout in SLG (.575) and OPS (.974), T-2nd with Trout in runs (74), 2nd in the AL in 2B (30), 3rd in total bases (203), and 4th in OBP (.399). Pretty great, right?

The crazy thing is, it seems like most baseball fans needed convincing to even make Bogaerts an All-Star this season. He did eventually make it in after injuries knocked out other stars, but he didn’t even finish in the the Top 3 in voting at the position. The best shortstop in the American League, by a healthy margin, didn’t get voted in to the mid-summer classic.

Trout holds a comfy lead across most offensive categories, and might even be putting together his best season yet. But there’s no doubt that Bogaerts has cemented himself as a superstar in this league. For him, it’s time to start stealing some of the spotlight away from L.A. and bringing it back to Beantown, where one of the hottest shows in town is here to stay.

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.

No Late Inning Heroics As Sox Fall To The Rangers

A day after news of David Ortiz’s shooting came out, the Red Sox hosted the Texas Rangers. Prior to the game, the Red Sox honored Ortiz with a moment of silence. Both fans and players reflected on Ortiz, and wished him a speedy recovery. Fans were looking for a win for Papi. However, the game didn’t end with any late inning heroics. The Red Sox didn’t show their inner “Big Papi” as they lost in extra innings to the Rangers.

Down 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth, Brock Holt’s single scored Michael Chavis to scorelate inning heroics the tying run. The Red Sox had multiple chances to win the game, however, nothing came of those chances. With Ryan Braiser on the mound the hopes of a win faded as the Rangers won 4-3 in eleven innings.

The Red Sox Respond Following Ortiz News

Sunday night sent shockwaves through Red Sox Nation. David Ortiz was shot in his hometown in the Dominican Republic. Ortiz, who is in stable condition following the shooting, was flown to Boston. Red Sox President Sam Kennedy told reporters that the Red Sox are bringing Ortiz to Boston for further medical treatment.

Players, coaches, and former players were all in shock. Alex Cora and Jason Varitek spoke to the press about Ortiz. Both of them spoke highly of Ortiz, and wished him a full recovery. By watching them speak, one can see their concern for Ortiz. The reaction and response from around MLB shows that this is more than just a game. Baseball truly is a community.

Holt’s Late Inning Heroics Couldn’t Pull The Sox To Victory

This game saw the match up of Chris Sale and Mike Minor. Sale, coming off a great start in his last outing in Kansas City, was looking for win number three. Minor, who has been known as the Red Sox’s punching bag, was looking for win number six.

Right off the bat, things were looking up for Boston. With one out in the first, Andrew Benintendi hit a two run home run. This allowed Sale to have a comfortable lead right away. Sale went seven innings, allowing one run and striking out ten. The Sox lined up the win. Brandon Workman pitched a solid eighth inning. Matt Barnes, however, allowed two runs to score. This put the Rangers up 3-2.

In the bottom of the ninth, Shawn Kelley allowed Chavis to reach base by walking him. With two outs in the inning, Brock Holt’s late inning heroics scored Chavis with a single. Holt would be the final out of the inning after being tagged out at home.

Even with the bases loaded in the bottom of the tenth, the Red Sox batters couldn’t spark any late inning heroics. Benintendi stuck out, and Xander Bogaerts lined out to the center fielder. This brought the game to the eleventh, and brought Ryan Braiser into the game.

Braiser’s first batter, Danny Santana ripped a double to right field. Santana, who has been a thorn in the Red Sox’s side the whole game, would later score. Elvis Andrus singled later in the eleventh, scoring Santana. The bottom of the inning saw Chris Martin, the Rangers closer come in. Unfortunately, the Boston bats remained silent.

The Aftermath of the Game

As the game was coming to a close, media outlets reported that David Ortiz had landed at Logan Airport. Ortiz was transported to Massachusetts General Hospital where his care will continue.

The Red Sox announced that the Game 2 starter will be Darwinzon Hernandez who will make his first major league start. The last time he played in the big leagues was against the Tigers back on April 23rd. Hernandez went 2.1 innings, allowing four hits and striking out four.

The Red Sox also announced that Wednesday’s game will be at 4pm so that fans can watch Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals that will be taking place at TD Garden. Boston fans are looking for a double win on Wednesday. Go Red Sox and Go Bruins!

Boston Found Success in the Final Game in New York

After losing the last four games to the New York Yankees, Boston found success in the final game. This makes them 1-4 against the Yankees. The next time Boston faces New York will be at the end of June in London.

Game one against the Yankees was pushed to Friday after a rainout Thursday. The rainboston found out was a much needed break for Boston. Looking to find success in the first game was key, especially since the Yankees are in first place. The Red Sox attempted to seek revenge on New York in game two. However, the Yankees had other plans. In the final game, behind a stellar performance by David Price, the Red Sox won.

Game One Part Two – Welcome Back to the Jungle

The battle of the aces, Chris Sale vs J.A. Happ. Boston started off with a 1-0 lead in the second inning, thanks to Rafael Devers’ solo home run. From there, the Yankees scored four runs – three in the third, and one in the fifth.

Sale took the loss, going six inning, allowing seven hits and four earned runs. He is now 1-7 on the season, with a 4.35 ERA. In the game, however, Sale did strike out ten. It should have been a solid win for Sale, but the Red Sox only managed one run on five hits.

Game Two – Attempting to Take Game Two From New York

Rick Porcello took the ball in the second game of the series vs the Yankees right handed started, Domingo German. This game looked a bit more promising, with the Red Sox managing thre runs off of eleven hits. A home run by Bogaerts off of German and a few clutch hits by Sandy Leon allowed the Red Sox to tie the game 3-3 in the fourth inning.

The Yankees, however, had different plans for the defending World Series Champions. Key hits by DJ LeMahieu and Gio Urshela, and a two run home run by Gary Sanchez led the Yankees to win their second game of the series.

Boston Found Success in the Final Game

A pitching matchup between David Price and CC Sabathia was a highly regarded one. Price, coming off of a great performance against Cleveland, had the ball for Boston. In the game on Sunday, he pitched 6.1 solid innings, allowing two runs and struck out six. Boston’s offense struck first, and kept striking. JD Martinez led it off with a home run in the first, and Bogaerts did the same in the fourth. Even Michael Chavis hit his first career triple, driving in Devers in the eighth inning.

In total, the Red Sox scored eight runs and had thirteen hits. This ruined the retiring Sabathia’s shot of getting win number 250. The bullpen was a bit shaky, but luckily the Red Sox walked away with an 8-5 victory. Boston found success finally!

London Bound

The next time Boston goes up against New York will be June  29th and 30th in London. The two teams were selected to play at London Stadium in a two game match up. It will be interesting to see what happens!

Can The Red Sox Dig Themselves Out of the Hole?

The Red Sox are currently in third place behind the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays. It seems as though the shovel that the Red Sox are using to dig the hole that they’re in is never ending at this point. So can the Red Sox dig themselves out?

After going 3-1 against the Toronto Blue Jays, the Red Sox went to Houston looking tored sox dig continue their success. However, that wasn’t the case. Something went wrong during that three game set in Houston. The question is, does this team have what it takes to overcome its struggles? As the Red Sox dig themselves into a hole with no end in sight, can they come back from this setback and head into June on a high note?

So far, the Red Sox have gone 2-6 against the Yankees and Astros, teams the Red Sox defeated in the 2018 postseason. As we head into the last week of May, the Red Sox sit in third place in the AL East. At the rate they’re going, it seems as though the postseason is out of reach.

The Canadian Adventure

The battle of the rookies took center stage at Rogers Centre in Toronto. Both Michael Chavis and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. were great with the bat, and glove in this series. For the most part, the Red Sox offense came alive. It also helped that the bullpen was on point for most of the series in Toronto.

This series also saw a struggling Jackie Bradley Jr. come to life. In the first two games of the series, he hit home runs, raising his batting average a bit. Bradley Jr. still has a lot of work to do to stay hot, but hopefully this is a good sign. Another player to take notice of is Ryan Weber. The 28 year old righty pitched his first start of the season, going six innings against Toronto. Weber got the win in the game, striking out four while allowing one earned run in the 8-2 finale.

Back To The Scene of the ALCS

Think back to October 2018. The Red Sox are playing the defending champions in the ALCS. Remember the catch? The home run? The sweet feeling of going to the World Series yet again? It’s a great feeling, right? I just have one question – What happened? After Houston left Fenway taking two of the three games, they did it yet again. Houston took two of the three again. This time, on their home field.

From the errors, to the pitching, who knows what is going on. Some bright spots was the offense, however, it didn’t pan out for the Red Sox this weekend.

The first game was ugly from the beginning. It ended in a 4-3 loss, with the Red Sox committing three errors behind Chris Sale’s start. Despite home runs from Xander Bogaerts, Bradley Jr. and Christian Vazquez, there was no escape for Boston.

Game 2 seemed to be a bit better. The Astros struck first, and had a 3-1 lead until Vazquez hit a two run single to tie it. However, Carlos Correa and the Astros had other plans, as Correa hit the game winning single in the bottom of the ninth.

Looking to salvage the final game before they head home to Fenway, Eduardo Rodriguez looked to continue his success on the mound. He did just that, going 6 innings, allowing one earned run and striking out five. The bullpen did a great job securing the win, with Marcus Walden getting his first save of the season. A home run by Rafael Devers, and good at-bats by Eduardo Nunez and Andrew Benintendi, allowed the Red Sox to leave Houston with a 4-1 win.

How Deep is This Hole, and Can the Red Sox Dig Themselves Out of it?

As they head back to Fenway, we can only wonder what is going through the players’ minds. Right now, the Red Sox sit in third place in the division. As for the Wild Card, they’re holding their heads above water right now. The question is, can they keep climbing? Can the Red Sox dig themselves out of this hole?

The Red Sox play 162 games, and right now they’re two months into this season. There are so many questions that need to be answered. The big question is, can they survive with what they have? In my opinion, we need pitching help, particularly in the bullpen. Hopefully, something good comes out of this mini homestead against the Cleveland Indians.