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July 1, 2015

Taking a Break

Because of my kitten's injury (see "I've Got 99 Problems and a Kitten is One"), trying to train my puppy, and other personal and professional reasons I need to take a break from this blog for now.

I hope to return once things have settled. Thank you for all the support over the years.

June 29, 2015

Justin Time

Just when you thought the Red Sox were spiraling into a tailspin they pulled off a series win against the division-leading Tampa Bay Rays. Boston is eight games back as we near the midpoint of the season. I would settle for a less lofty goal than the postseason, like an above .500 winning percentage or not finishing in last place.

Justin Masterson returned to the team and while his pitching wasn’t impressive he turned in a yeoman-like five innings to prevail over Cy Young candidate Chris Archer. Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy are certainly happy with Masterson‘s return; with him comes his wife Meryl and with Meryl comes cookies.

Masterson allowed five hits and gave up an unearned run while striking out six with no walks. Masterson’s line looks better on paper than his actual stuff, but then again Joe Kelly’s arsenal was spectacular with poor results.

How much did David Ortiz enjoy smashing a home run off Archer in the fourth inning? This much.

While Ortiz, Pablo Sandoval, and Alejandro De Aza clouted four-baggers one slugger made an early exit. Mike Napoli’s second-inning at bat ended when home plate umpire Tripp Gibson’s called strike against him. The Amica, or as Remy calls it, Ameeker strike zone showed that the pitch grazed the zone’s boundary.

Napoli has been massively frustrated with his hitting this year and this confrontation with Gibson shows the first baseman’s vexation boiling over.

And who wouldn’t be as Napoli was tossed not for arguing the call but for not picking up his bat. “I thought I walked. That’s why I dropped my bat. And I had a conversation with him, told him I thought it was a ball. He said it was a good pitch, so I started taking off my batting gloves and started walking back toward the dugout,'” stated Napoli to Gordon Edes.

“He told me I forgot my bat,” Napoli continued. “I stopped a little bit, and [then] he told me to come back and pick up the bat. I pointed at the bat boy, who picks up our bats, and he tossed me. So then, when he tossed me, I told him how I felt.”

Scuzza me, but you see, back in old Napoli, that’s a rather silly reason to eject someone.

Game 77: June 28, 2015
WinRed Sox
5 W: Justin Masterson (3-2)
H: Junichi Tazawa (12)
S: Koji Uehara (16)
2B: Xander Bogaerts (15), Blake Swihart (8)
HR: Pablo Sandoval (7), Alejandro De Aza (6), David Ortiz (12)
Tampa Bay Rays
3 L: Chris Archer (9-5)
2B: Brad Guyer (9), Asdrubal Cabrera (11), Grady Sizemore (6)

June 28, 2015


Wade Miley was the perfect pitcher to start 70s Night at Tropicana Field. He looks like he could have been relieved by Bill Lee. Miley pitched fairly well: six and one-third innings, five hits, two earned runs, two walks, and eight strikeouts. But he was out-dueled by Matt Andriese, who held Boston scoreless over six stanzas.

Jake Elmore was responsible for the two runs Miley gave up. Elmore’s fifth-inning homer plated Asdrubal Cabrera. I love that the Rays have ersatz throwback uniforms from a decade that didn’t even witness the organization’s existence. But I don’t think the landlords would sign off on the Rays paying tribute to the Pepsi Cola Giants, a Tampa Bay-area Negro League feeder team. I think facing the area’s segregated past should be remembered rather than ignored.

Keep increasing your trade value, Alejandro De Aza!

Game 76: June 27, 2015
Red Sox
1 L: Wade Miley (7-7)
HR: Alejandro De Aza (5)
WinTampa Bay Rays
4 W: Matt Andriese (3-2)
H: Jake McGee (9), Kevin Jepsen (17)
S: Brad Boxberger (20)
2B: Evan Longoria (15), Logan Forsythe (15)
3B: Asdrubal Cabrera (4)
HR: Jake Elmore (2), Rene Rivera (4), Longoria (8)

Last Gasp

While this edition of the Red Sox has been disappointing, at least they don’t play as if there is no hope. In the fourth inning Mike Napoli and Blake Swihart were sent on a double steal. Napoli was safe at home plate but Swihart was out at second. Napoli’s run made the score a tight 3-1 in the visitors’ favor.

That slim margin was shaved to zero in the sixth frame. David DeJesus tied the game with a sacrifice fly to right that plated Joey Butler. On the same play Evan Longoria tagged up to reach third base. Rick Porcello uncorked a wild pitch, allowing Longoria to tie the game.

The Red Sox had a chance to take the lead in the seventh stanza. Jackie Bradley, Jr. led off with a single laced to center field. Mookie Betts reached on a fielder’s choice but then was caught stealing due to indecisiveness.

In the ninth Napoli muscled a ground ball single up the middle but Brad Boxberger got the next three outs without incident.

Betts atoned for his seventh-inning flub in the 10th. He lofted a double to DeJesus. Brock Holt got a hold of Steve Geltz’s fastball and sent it into left. Betts, whom Ben Cherington should definitely not trade, scored what would be the winning run.

Game 75: June 26, 2015 ∙ 10 innings
WinRed Sox
4 W: Alexi Ogando (2-0)
S: Koji Uehara (15)
2B: Alejandro De Aza (8), Mookie Betts (17)
Tampa Bay Rays
3 L: Steve Geltz (1-3)
2B: Marc Krauss (3), Evan Longoria (14), Asdrubal Cabrera (10)

June 27, 2015

Great Britton

Cute kid, huh? Maybe, until you realize what he’s doing is waving goodbye to the Red Sox postseason hopes.

Or perhaps he’s like that kid in the Cam Newton Play 60 commercial. You remember: “And be your mom’s favorite player?” This boy has the makings to go toe to toe with Dustin Pedroia. They are almost eye to eye.

Zach Britton has had six save opportunities against the Red Sox and converted all but one of them. Jackie Bradley, Jr. (welcome back, and if you do well best of luck with your new team) muscled a single off Chris Parmelee to Nolan Reimold in left to start the ninth but Britton got the next three batters, Mookie Betts, Brock Holt, and Xander Bogaerts, out without much difficulty.

The Red Sox put up a half a dozen runs but the Orioles offense figured out Eduardo Rodriguez since they first saw him on June 9, 2015.

Alejandro De Aza has been a welcome addition to the squad. His fourth-inning three-run homer hopefully increased his trade value as the Red Sox are most likely sellers as the trade deadline draws near.

Jonathan Aro made his major league debut in the sixth inning and promptly allowed an inherited runner to score when he surrendered a single to Manny Machado. Not as bad as the Dengue fever Aro contracted, to be sure, but it would have been nice to get an out off the first batter he faced. John Farrell kept him on the mound in the seventh. Aro gave up doubles to Nolan Reimold and Chris Davis, resulting in another run for the Orioles.

But it’s hard not to feel good for Aro. “It’s been a long journey, but I feel like I’ve done my best to go about things the right way all the time,” he told Alex Speier. “It feels that much better that I’m able to fulfill my mom’s dreams of making it to the big leagues one day. That’s a pretty awesome feeling.”

Game 74: June 25, 2015
WinBaltimore Orioles
8 W: Miguel Gonzalez (6-4)
H: T.J. McFarland (3), Tommy Hunter (5)
S: Zach Britton (21)
2B: Chris Parmelee (3), J.J. Hardy (5), Steve Pearce – 2 (5), Nolan Reimold (1), Chris Davis (13)
HR: Matt Wieters (3)
Red Sox
6 L: Eduardo Rodriguez (3-2)
2B: Xander Bogaerts – 2 (14), Mike Napoli (10)
HR: Alejandro De Aza (4)

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