The Boston Red Sox won 119 games last season and claimed their fourth title in 15 seasons, and they look to repeat as champions for just the second time in franchise history.
For the fourth time in the last 15 seasons, the Boston Red
Sox open the season as the defending World Series champions of Major League
Baseball; only time will tell whether Boston successfully defends its title
against the other 29 teams. In three previous attempts, the closest the Red Sox
came to doing so was in 2008, when they took the Tampa Bay Rays to seven games
in the American League Championship Series but failed to win the deciding game.
Boston also looks to defend its current run of three straight division titles,
the longest streak in franchise history.
After winning 108 regular season games on their way to
another 11 wins in the 2018 postseason, Alex Cora’s
roster looks very much like the one he had for most of last season. In fact,
the Opening Day roster includes only one player – Colten Brewer – who did not
play for Boston last season. Spring training was, like last year, relatively
quiet, and the Red Sox finished with 12 wins versus 17 losses and a tie.
Perhaps the biggest news out of Fort Myers was a contract extension Boston gave
to pitcher Chris Sale;
the five-year, $145M payout ensures that he will stay with the team through
2024, unless he chooses to opt out after the 2022 season.
With the roster
now final, let’s see who will be with the team in Seattle tonight
when they start the season against the Mariners at T-Mobile Field (formally
Continue reading “World Series Championship Repeat Begins with Opening Day”
Someone once suggested that I would be doing my son a favor to let him become a Yankees fan; that was never going to happen.
Baseball was, is and always will be the best game in the world. – Babe Ruth
The day after a crushing Game Seven loss in the 2003 American League Championship Series for Red Sox fans, I arrived at work to find a youth-sized Yankees cap on my chair. One of my co-workers, an unabashed New York fan, had pinned a note to it: “Give this to your son so that he’ll know what it feels like to root for a REAL team!”
Needless to say, I was less than happy – no, actually, I was pissed – and I threw the hat and the note into one of the bottom drawers of my file cabinet, knowing well enough that my then six-month-old son would NEVER be a fan of any team other than the Boston Red Sox.
Continue reading “15 Years Later, There Are No Regrets”
Shutting out your opponent but needing extra innings to win the game? That is somewhat unique in Red Sox team history.
On Monday night, the Red Sox needed 12 innings to beat the Orioles 2-0 at Camden Yards, with Brock Holt hitting a sacrifice fly in the top of the frame to plate the deciding run. It marked Boston’s fifth shutout of the season to date and their second against Baltimore (the Sox won 5-0 over the Birds on 20 May at Fenway Park).
Winning in extra innings is fairly common; Boston played bonus baseball 18 times in 2017, amassing a surprising 15-3 mark in those instances. Shutouts are also not unusual; Boston blanked its opponent in 11 games last season. All that stated, winning in extra innings while shutting out your opponent? That is somewhat unique. According to Baseball-Reference.com, since 1908, there have been only 32 instances where the Red Sox shut out their opponent but needed extra frames to secure the win.
Continue reading “Did You Know? – Extra Inning Shutouts”
Why shouldn’t we use proven technology to help the men in blue call balls and strikes? Shouldn’t that be part of “the integrity of the game?”
Every time I watch a Red Sox ball game on NESN, as every pitch crosses the plate, projected on the lower right corner of the screen is a graphic that shows the location of that pitch relative to the strike zone, defined as the area over the plate below the armpits and above the knees of the batter when in his natural stance. In fact, a very similar graphic appears in almost every MLB broadcast, be it on the MLB Network, FOX, ESPN, TBS, or otherwise.
In 2006, the league launched the use of PITCHf/x, a technology that tracked the velocity, position, and break of every pitch in real-time. Last year, PITCHf/x was phased out in favor of Statcast, which had initially been installed in all 30 major league stadiums in 2015. Though there have been questions about the pitch velocity being reported by the latter (data suggests that it’s about two MPH higher), the accuracy of the pitches, measured using Doppler radar and high-definition video, is nearly perfect.
Continue reading “Bring On The Robots, and (Most) Everyone Will Be Happy”
Mookie Betts has surpassed the legendary Ted Williams as the new franchise leader and is one of only five players in team history with multiple three-home-run games.
On Wednesday, Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts set a new franchise record by hitting three home runs in a single game for the fourth time in his young career, surpassing the legendary Ted Williams. It was the second time in just over two weeks that the Gold Glove outfielder and two-time All Star flycatcher, who turns 26 in October, had hit three in a game.
In team history, only five players have had at least two three-home-run games: Betts, Williams, Mo Vaughn, Jim Rice, and Nomar Garciaparra, the latter three having done it exactly twice. Famously, Garciaparra had two grand slams and ten RBI in his first game and totaled three slams and 18 RBI over his two games; in comparison, Betts has 19 RBI over his four games. Other Red Sox players who have had at least one grand slam in a three-home-run game include Williams, Norm Zauchin, Jim Tabor (two in his one game), Bill Mueller (two in his one game), and Jack Clark.
Continue reading “Did You Know? – Three Home Runs By One Player In A Single Game”
Besides sporting a rookie manager in Alex Cora, the 2018 Red Sox look very much like last year’s team, and the objective of winning a World Series has not changed.
It seems odd that a Major League Baseball team coming off back-to-back division titles would showcase a new manager the following season, but that’s the case for the Red Sox, who fired John Farrell at the conclusion of the 2017 season after five years with the club and replaced him with former Boston infielder and rookie manager Alex Cora. Expectations are already high for Cora, who was the bench coach for the 2017 World Series champion Houston Astros, to lead the club not only to another first place finish in the American League East but deep into the postseason after two straight division round exits.
Boston enjoyed a relatively successful if rather low-key spring training. Basking in the warmth of the Florida sun at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers while New England enjoy four March Nor’easters, the Red Sox went 22-9-1, winning 14 of their last 15 and five of six against the Minnesota Twins to claim the Mayor’s Cup (if that is still a thing). With the roster now final, baseball begins for real today in Tampa Bay with the Red Sox in town for four against the Rays; let’s catch up on the state of the team as Opening Day dawns across the league.
Continue reading “New Manager But The Same Objective As 2018 Red Sox Season Begins”
Only two other pitchers in Red Sox history have accomplished what Craig Kimbrel did in the ninth inning of yesterday’s win in Milwaukee: strike out the side on nine consecutive pitches.
On Thursday afternoon in the ninth inning of an eventual 4-1 Red Sox win against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park, closer Craig Kimbrel struck out Hernan Perez, Travis Shaw, and Domingo Santana to end the game. While not the first time Kimbrel had struck out the side in an inning this season for Boston, what made it remarkable was the fact that he did so on nine consecutive pitches. In Major League Baseball history, 79 pitchers have accomplished this feat, commonly referred to as the immaculate inning, a total of 83 times.
Kimbrel joins Pedro Martinez and Clay Buchholz as the only three Red Sox pitchers to strike three batters on nine pitches in a half-inning. Martinez accomplished his feat almost 15 years ago to the date — 18 May 2002 — in the first inning of a game against the Seattle Mariners, while Buchholz did so in the sixth inning of a game against the Baltimore Orioles on 16 August 2012.
Continue reading “Did You Know? – Immaculate Innings”
Need a quick primer on the team as we launch into another season? Don’t worry, everyone; there is life after Big Papi.
Don’t look now, but the Boston Red Sox open the 2017 season at Fenway Park in just ten days. TEN DAYS! If you haven’t been following the fun at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers for the past month-plus – heck, if you haven’t kept up since the team was swept by Cleveland in the ALDS – then here is a quick summary to get you caught up with the local nine before they return north from sunny Fort Myers to chilly New England.
The Red Sox may have won the offseason last December when they sent top prospect Yoan Moncada and three other players to the White Sox in exchange for five time All-Star southpaw Chris Sale. Sale has not disappointed this spring; in 16 innings pitched in Grapefruit League action, he has struck out 20 with a WHIP of 1.06, and even held the Yankees, Boston’s biggest rival, to just two runs over six innings pitched on Tuesday in Tampa. Coupled with 2016 Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello, David Price, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Steven Wright and backed by Drew Pomeranz and Kyle Kendrick, this rotation is arguably one of the best in the league, making the team early favorites to win another World Series.
Price will begin the season on the DL due to elbow issues that popped up during camp, but he is gaining strength day-by-day and, with effective monitoring and a full-blown throwing program, should return to the team within a month after the season begins. One pitcher who won’t return is Clay Buchholz whom, after ten up-and-down seasons with the Red Sox, Boston traded to the Phillies in December.
Continue reading “Catching Up With The Red Sox As The 2017 Season Looms”
Hitting a round tripper on Opening Day, like hitting one in the World Series or an All-Star Game, is not an unusual feat, but doing it more than once is noteworthy in some respects.
Hitting a round tripper on Opening Day, like hitting one in the World Series or an All-Star Game, is not considered unusual, but doing it more than once is noteworthy in some respects. In the ninth inning of Tuesday afternoon’s 6-2 win for Boston over Cleveland, Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz hit what proved to be his fifth career home run on Opening Day, his third with the Red Sox after hitting two with the Minnesota Twins earlier in his career. After what was a quiet spring (4-for-35 with three extra base hits), the sight of him launching one into the bleachers was a welcome sight to Red Sox fans looking for a positive start to the 2016 season.
The home run also proved to be number 504 in Big Papi’s career, which ties him with Eddie Murray for 26th all-time in MLB history. After Murray, his next target on the all-time list would be Gary Sheffield (509), followed by Mel Ott (511), Ernie Banks (512) and Eddie Matthews (also 512). He now also has 446 home runs with the Red Sox, which puts him six behind Carl Yastrzemski for second place (452) and well behind Ted Williams with 521, whom he has a chance to catch only in the career total category.
Continue reading “Did You Know? – Red Sox Opening Day Home Runs”
With David Ortiz set to retire at season’s end, will the Boston Red Sox reward him and the fans with a fourth championship since 2004?
It may be difficult to believe that just three years ago, the Boston Red Sox were World Series champions, but when you factor in three losing seasons in the past four years, it’s not hard to fathom. With designated hitter David Ortiz set to retire at season’s end, will Boston reward him and the fans with a fourth championship since 2004?
Boston is set open the 2016 regular reason today in Cleveland against the Indians. The Red Sox, who followed the 2013 championship season with two straight last place finishes in the American League East, will be managed for a fourth year by John Farrell, who returns to the helm after undergoing treatment for lymphoma that caused him to miss several games at the end of last season. Boston will play an additional road series in Toronto against the Blue Jays before opening Fenway Park next Monday versus the Baltimore Orioles.
Many familiar faces return from last season; besides Ortiz, the roster features newly minted first baseman Hanley Ramirez, second baseman Dustin Pedroia, shortstop Xander Bogaerts, outfielder Mookie Betts, and starting pitchers Clay Buchholz, Joe Kelly, and Rick Porcello. Another familiar face who returns as a starter this season is infielder Brock Holt, who was the lone representative for Boston at last year’s All Star Game.
Some of the new faces are already familiar to Boston fans. Pitcher David Price, who faced the Red Sox several times as a Tampa Bay starting pitcher, joins the club with the richest contract ever given in franchise history (seven years, $217 million). Chris Young, formally with the Yankees, begins the season as a reserve outfielder. One player less familiar to fans but prepared to make an impact is Craig Kimbrel, who signed as a free agent after six years split between the Braves and the Padres; he takes over the closer spot from Koji Uehara, who becomes Boston’s newest set up man.
Continue reading “Red Sox Open 2016 Schedule With 25 Man Roster Set”