A couple of interesting notes, observations, and stats that I’ve picked up on over the course of the week for the Boston Red Sox.
Let’s get into it.
Duel in Chi-Town
The final game of the series against the Chicago White Sox featured a battle of two south paws as Red Sox’ ace Jon Lester went up against the lanky Chris Sale.
If you’re an old school kind of baseball fan like myself who can appreciate a good ole’ fashion pitcher’s duel, well then, this game did not disappoint.
Lester went 8 innings, allowing 1 earned run while striking out 9. On Chicago’s side, Sale matched him pitch for pitch, going 7 innings, allowing 1 earned run and striking out a total of 10 batters. Lester looked like a $100 million dollar man, using the fastball to set up that nasty cutter of his that creeps back over the plate against both righties and lefties. Sale — with his funky delivery and unhittable change-up — mowed through the Red Sox’ lineup with ease, allowing just 1 hit through his 7 innings of work.
Both starters carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning with Lester retiring the first 16 batters he faced, furthering his case for a contract extension from Boston. Meanwhile, Sale lowered his ERA to 2.30 and opponents are now hitting just .168 off of him through his first 4 starts.
Week of firsts for the X-Man
Let’s put it this way, Xander Bogaerts had an interesting week.
On Tuesday night, he committed his first, and hopefully last, game-costing error with a misfire to first base in the bottom of the 9th that Mike Carp couldn’t scoop into the glove.
Then, in the next game he picked up his first RBI of the season with a base knock in the 1st inning to drive in Dustin Pedroia that put the Sox up 1-0. I think it surprised everyone that it took the talented Bogaerts 15 games to drive in a run.
Finally, in the last game against Chicago, Bogaerts was the only member of the Red Sox lineup to get a hit off of Chris Sale — a 444-foot home run to deep left field — and his first long ball of the season.
Bogaerts hasn’t blown anybody away with his play to start the 2014 season, but he is still getting on base at a tremendous clip (.411 OBP with 11 walks) and there is no ceiling on his potential.
Replay not in Sox favor
The talk of the baseball landscape in 2014 is the emergence of challenges for managers across the league. There have been a lot of mixed reviews so far on whether or not the replay system is actually doing any good, or if it’s just hindering baseball.
I am not a fan so far. In fact, I hate it.
Part of what makes baseball so great is that there is an element of human error. The umpire decides safe or out, fair or foul, and that used to be the end of it. You accepted it, even if you knew it was wrong, it was part of the game. With the introduction of replay, the plan is to correct those mistakes, which I guess is fine if they could actually correct them, but that hasn’t been the case so far for many of the challenged plays. Instead, I have to watch a replay for 3 minutes of a play and watch the umpires gather together, just to come back and make the wrong decision. It’s infuriating.
The most recent blunder came in the first game of the series against Baltimore. Nick Markakis drilled a ball towards left field off of John Lackey that was CLEARLY a foul ball. They ruled it fair on the field, and after John Farrell challenged the call, they still somehow decided it was a fair ball and awarded Markakis the double.
I say they end the misery and stop this disaster now. Take another year to perfect it and come up with a system that actually works instead of using 2014 as the experiment.
Good bye Ryan Roberts
The Red Sox designated Ryan Roberts for assignment and called up the familiar face of Brock Holt before Friday’s game against the O’s.
Roberts was dreadful for Boston, going 2-for-19 with 7 strikeouts in his brief stint with the club after being signed for…wait… why was he signed again?
I still never really understood the reasoning for it. I know losing Will Middlebrooks hurt the bottom of the lineup and Herrera wasn’t really enough to provide a spark, but why Roberts? I mean with all the potential in the minors — Brock Holt and Garin Cecchini — why not give one of those guys who have been around the team a chance until Middlebrooks got back?
They finally realized this when they brought up Holt, but it never made sense that it didn’t happen right away.
Can’t say I’ll miss Roberts.
Jonathan Herrera absolutely loves to bunt
More specifically, Herrera loves to bunt down the first-base line.
He dropped one down Thursday night against Chicago in the 9th inning with the bases loaded to bring home a run. Then he followed that up with another perfect bunt Saturday afternoon on a safety squeeze that gave the Sox a two-run advantage late in the game.
I swear he’ll at least show bunt every single time he is up to bat, even if it makes no sense to do so.
I’ll be back next week with five new takeaways, so for now, pray for some runs.
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