Monday, April 29, 2019

2019 Red Sox Week in Review: 4/21-4/28

After losing three in a row at the beginning of last week (including getting swept in the Bronx), the Sox ended last week by winning the first two games in Tampa against the Rays while finally starting to look like the team we all expected them to be. This week was jammed full with seven games which, after the final game in Tamps, marked the beginning of a ten-game homestand. Seeing as the Sox have only played six home games thus far in the season, it was a welcome development. With games against the Tigers, Rays, and Athletics the opportunity was there for Boston to add some wins to their record and pick up more ground in the division.

(4/21 at Tampa Bay Rays): The Sox finished off the series in Tampa with an exciting extra innings 4-3 win to sweep the best team in the division on their home field. It was the first series win for Boston this season and by winning it, the team picked up three full games in the standings and moved out of the AL East basement. David Price pitched another solid game and the team as a whole finished off a series where they finally seemed to put everything together the way we knew they could. With a stretch of ten games in a row at Fenway Park beginning after this one, it seemed as though the team could really take advantage and pick up some steam.

(4/23 vs. Detroit Tigers) (day game): This first game of the series was rained out the day before so it was made up as part of a doubleheader the day after. Chris Sale continued to trend in the right direction and pitch better, but that didn't translate into a win. The Sox took an early lead but squandered it as quickly as they'd gotten it and ended up losing this one 7-4. I had been looking for the team to sweep the day against this middling Tigers team so to say I was disappointed was an understatement. To add insult to injury, my least favorite Red Sox (Heath Hembree) was responsible for a huge part of why they lost this game. Only Xander Bogaerts seemed to do anything to keep the Sox in it, slugging two home runs in a valiant losing effort. 

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(4/23 vs. Detroit Tigers) (night game): For reasons known only to himself, Alex Cora managed this game as though the Sox were up ten games in the division instead of in the cellar. It was yet another bullpen game in a young season that's already seen far too many of them. Hector Velazquez pitched alright and certainly didn't put the Sox in a bad position, but as has been their problem this season the offense failed to score enough runs. Rookie call-up Michael Chavis provided some excitement when he belted his first career home run, but otherwise it was a forgettable night as Detroit swept the day with a 4-2 win. 

(4/24 vs. Detroit Tigers): Following the pattern he's stuck to for most of his career, Eduardo Rodriguez was due for another good start and he delivered in this game. He was efficient, sharp, and only gave up a single run in his six innings of work. Unfortunately, the bullpen nearly botched this game with Tyler Thornburg almost single-handedly losing it. Luckily, the Sox scored seven runs in the late innings (including three on bases loaded walks!) to earn the 11-4 win. The offensive explosion was nice as far too often this year the once-potent Red Sox offense has been invisible. They continue to have the worst run differential in the league and if they want to have a legitimate shot at righting this ship, that will need to change...and fast.

(4/25 vs. Detroit Tigers): It was Rick Porcello's turn for redemption as he turned in his best start of the season. While he gave up three runs, he did go six innings and kept his walks down (which had been killing him earlier in the season). It got a bit hairy when Porcello gave an early 2-0 lead back by surrendering three runs in the third inning, but Boston came back for five runs to win the game 7-3 and salvage a series split. It was frustrating to not win a series against a mediocre team, but the last two games were encouraging as it looked as though the offense was finally snapping out of their funk and putting some runs up.

(4/27 vs. Tampa Bay Rays): But then again, maybe not. JD Martinez was scratched before this game with back spasms and if you want a reminder of what the Sox offense was like in 2017, here's your reminder. The first game of the series was rained out and will be made up in June as part of a doubleheader, so it was only two games against Tampa and it didn't get off to a good start. David Price pitched really well and only gave up two runs, but the Red Sox only scored one (big surprise, right?). That single run came off a Mookie Betts solo home run in the eighth inning...otherwise the offense was non-existent in this game. I don't get how this team could sweep the red-hot Rays in Tampa last week and then drop a game like this at home. It's utterly baffling, but then again so is this entire season thus far.

(4/29 vs Tampa Bay Rays): Can we all admit now that there's something wrong with Chris Sale and that the team should've waited until at least the All Star break (as I said all winter) before deciding whether or not to extend him? He was lousy once again and dropped his record to 0-5 on the season with this stinker. He did only give up four runs, but he didn't look good at all in doing it and gave up a lot of hard hit balls (one of which ended up in the outfield seats). The Sox battled back a little to make it 4-2, but Hembree (again, it's almost always Hembree) gave up some insurance (aided by some horrible play in the field from Rafael Devers and Michael Chavis) and the Sox were swept as Tampa returned the favor from last week as they went down in this game 5-2. This was game two without JD and the Sox had better hope he'll be back soon because this offense without his bat is ugly.

Quick Hits: After ending last week with some really positive momentum, the Red Sox bumbled their way to a 3-4 record this week and lost the ground they made up in the division. Other than JD Martinez and Xander Bogaerts, nobody has been hitting consistently well in the lineup and a few players (Jackie Bradley, Steve Pearce, Sandy Leon) are hitting so poorly that it's becoming an anchor for the team. Pitching-wise, Price continued to pitch well while Porcello and Rodriguez look to be getting back to what we all expected. Sale, though, is a mess and whether it's all mental, physical, or a combination of the two is something I don't have an answer for. More aggravating than the play on the field is all of the talking Alex Cora is doing about how "close" the Sox are to finally putting it all together. It's been nothing but excuses and talk, talk, talk since spring training and at this point I'm sick of it. It's time to own this mess and figure out a way to make it right..that's your job, Alex. The Yankees are decimated with injuries and are still winning games. For the Red Sox to be almost ten games out at the end of April is inexcusable and it's only going to get tougher when Oakland visits to wrap up this homestand before they head back on the road. If they continue to tread water like this into the middle of May, it will probably doom the season. It's done being "early" and I'm not exaggerating when I say that how the team plays in these next two to three weeks will determine the outcome of the season.

11-17 record, 4th in AL East (7.5 GB the Rays)

If you love the Red Sox as much as I do, you'll enjoy my book A Win For Every Stitch which chronicles their historic 2018 season from Opening Day to the end of the World Series. It may even help take your mind off of how bad this season has been so far. Click below to check it out and read some reviews...every Sox fan will love it!

Monday, April 22, 2019

2019 Red Sox Week in Review: 4/14-4/20

As bad as I (and I suspect most of my fellow Red Sox fans) felt about last week, the team went 3-2 during that span although at 5-10 they were still fourth in the AL East. In this week they finished up their series with Baltimore with two more games including the traditional morning game on Marathon Monday. They then made their first trip to the Bronx to face the Yankees for the first time this season before wrapping up the week with a series in Tampa against the first place Rays. The goal, in my mind at least, was for the Sox to win the last two against the Orioles before going on to beat up on a Yankees team depleted by injuries. That would set them up nicely to be competitive in Tampa while picking up some ground in the division. As the old saying goes, though, "man plans and God laughs" and in this case, the baseball gods had a hearty chuckle at the Red Sox expense. 

(4/14 vs. Baltimore Orioles): David Price has been the only consistent starter for the Sox so far and he continued that trend by throwing seven shutout innings (the longest outing by a Boston starter in 2019) and only allowing three hits while striking seven batters out. Xander Bogaerts hit a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning to make it 1-0 and that's all the team would need, but for good measure Xander crushed a three-run homer in the eighth inning for some insurance. It all added up to a 4-0 win and it looked like the Sox had put it together and could move forward playing better baseball. However, there was still the matter of one more game against the Orioles on Patriots Day to wrap up the series.

(4/15 vs. Baltimore Orioles): The Sox were rained out on Marathon Monday last year, so I was looking forward to seeing them finish off the lowly O's and contribute to the party atmosphere in the city (even if it was cool and rainy). For some reason, though, Alex Cora moved Chris Sale's start back a day to have him pitch in Yankee Stadium and gave the spot start to Hector Velazquez. That tipped me off right away that this would be a bullpen game, although for the first few innings it looked like it might work out. He only gave up a run in the second inning and it was 1-0 heading into the fifth before the Red Sox imploded. Marcus Walden gave up three runs in the fifth and Baltimore added four more before the game was over. The lone Sox run came via Steve Pearce grounding into a fielder's choice to drive in a run. It all added up to an 8-1 loss and a lot of boos from the home crowd. I declared it the low point of the season, but I soon realized that I had spoken too soon.

(4/16 at New York Yankees): For some strange reason the Sox played another two game series, this time against the hated Yankees. With Chris Sale on the mound (even though he hasn't yet been good this season) and the Yankees absolutely decimated by injuries it seemed like the perfect opportunity for this team to get back on track. Instead what happened was such a debacle that it supplanted the previous game to claim the title of "2019 season low point." Sale's velocity was up and in the mid-to-high 90s, but he was still extremely hittable. The Yankees tattooed him for four runs but it felt like so much more. He only lasted five innings and after the game went off on himself for his poor pitching this season. Back to the game, the Yankees kept pouring it on by adding another four runs including a brutal three-run home run by some nobody named Mike Tauchman (who had four RBI in this one). The fact that a Yankees squad made up almost solely of AAA guys to fill in the gaps around their injuries did this to the Red Sox starters and ace pitcher was just a disgrace. (To be fair, Yankees starter James Paxton was masterful in this one, pitching eight innings of unhittable baseball). I don't think I've been as angry at the Sox in a long time as I was after this one.

(4/17 at New York Yankees): All I was thinking heading into this game was "please don't get swept." There's nothing worse than to get swept by the Yankees, but especially when the Yankees as currently constituted consist of Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres, and a bunch of scrubs and AAA call-ups. For the first six innings of this game it looked like the Sox manned up, tightened things up, and were playing the way we all expected them to this year. Nathan Eovaldi turned in his best performance of the season in only allowing a single run over six innings while the Boston offense staked him to a 3-1 lead. JD Martinez (solo home run) and Christian Vazquez (two-run homer) provided the offense and it seemed that the Sox would escape the Bronx with a split. Instead, the bullpen which had been so much better than we all expected heading into this season finally turned back into a pumpkin. In the seventh inning Brandon Workman could not get anyone put away and walked the bases loaded with a hit and two walks. That led Alex Cora to bring in Ryan Brasier who quickly got ahead of Brett Gardner 0-2 before grooving him a fastball that ended up in the comically short right field porch at Yankee Stadium. The grand slam completely changed the tenor of the game and took the wind out of Boston's sails. The Sox did have a chance in the eighth when they loaded the bases with two outs, but they continued to play stupid baseball when Eduardo Nunez swung at the first pitch (which wasn't anywhere close to being a strike) and popped up meekly to right field to snuff out the threat. For the third day in a row, the Sox reached a new low point the night after hitting their last one. This 5-3 loss dropped them a whopping 8.5 games behind Tampa with an almost make-or-break series (how ridiculous does that sound in mid-April?) against said Rays starting Friday.

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(4/19 at Tampa Bay Rays): Eduardo Rodriguez turned in another start that was less frustrating than he usually is...and for the second time this season! It was a good thing, too, because the Sox opened up this series against the best team in the division and needed everything they could get. The Rays actually took a quick 2-0 lead but the Sox battled back and went ahead 4-2 in the middle innings. However, the Rays tied it up in the sixth and you could see the look on the Red Sox faces when it happened like "here we go again." Luckily they found some of their old magic in the eighth inning with solo homers from both Mookie Betts and Mitch Moreland. That gave the Sox a 6-4 win and the relief you could see on their faces (especially Mookie's after he hit his homer) was noticeable. Rodriguez pitched a pretty good game overall although he still didn't make it out of the sixth inning. Still, he was solid for the most part and the offense made the clutch hits they needed to in order to squeeze out the win and pick up a game in the standings. 

(4/20 at Tampa Bay Rays): Game two of this series had Rick Porcello looking to atone for his first three terrible starts and for the most part he was locked in. The Sox staked him to a five run lead over the first two innings punctuated by Andrew Benintendi's first career grand slam. Rick did give up a couple of runs but for the most part pitched pretty well. Alex Cora pulled him prematurely (in my opinion) after only two outs in the sixth inning and it ended up costing them when Heath Hembree, Bobby Poyner, and Matt Barnes allowed the Rays to tie the game in the later innings. It was left to the ninth inning before the Sox put together some smart situational baseball and pushed across the winning run. Jackie Bradley led the inning off with a single, advanced to third on Michael Chavis' double (his first career hit!), and was drive home by Benintendi's sacrifice fly. The final out of the game was a trick play perfectly executed by Steve Pearce and Christian Vazquez to pick Tommy Pham off at first base...not something you see too often! That all added up to an exciting 6-5 win and the first series win of the season for the Sox (and conversely, the first series loss for Tampa).

Quick Hits: Boston went 3-3 over this past week and after the embarrassment of getting blown out and swept in the Bronx, they're starting to look as we expected them to in Tampa. Winning the first two of three games on the road against a very good Rays team was definitely a step in the right direction. The starting pitching has looked better as the week has gone on although the bullpen has regressed during the same span. The clutch hits have been nice to see as has the recent surge in power from Mookie and Benintendi. Some bad news with Eovaldi's arm issue, but hopefully they can weather his absence and continue warming up at the plate to compensate. The Sox still have the worst run differential in the league so if they're going to start mashing now, that would be very welcome.  Finally, after the final game against the Rays the team will head home for a ten game homestand which would go a long way toward digging themselves out of their early season hole.

8-13 record, 4th in AL East, (6 GB the Rays)

If you love the Red Sox as much as I do, you'll enjoy my book A Win For Every Stitch which chronicles their historic 2018 season from Opening Day to the end of the World Series. It may even help take your mind off of how bad this season has been so far. Click below to check it out and read some reviews...every Sox fan will love it!

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

2019 Red Sox Week in Review: 4/7-4/13

The Red Sox stumbled and bumbled their way through the first ten days of the season and ended the previous week with a dismal 2-8 record. With the end of the brutal season-opening road trip and then their first home games of the season in this third week of the season, would the Sox finally get back to the brand of winning baseball they played last season? Would the team finally turn the page on 2018 after getting their rings and unveiling the 2018 championship banner in their home opener? Will playing in front of the home crowd at Fenway Park be the thing to cure what ails them? These are all questions I had heading into this week and as you'll see, the results continued to be...mixed, at best.

(4/7 at Arizona Diamondbacks): A classic "bullpen game" since Hector Velazquez got the spot start. Combined with his cohorts in the bullpen, the relievers delivered one of the better pitching performances for the team thus far. This game was bereft of action apart from the red-hot Mitch Moreland hitting a solo home run in the seventh inning which was the difference maker. It was a 1-0 Red Sox win and helped them avoid the sweep at the hands of the Diamondbacks. The miserable season-opening road trip ended with the Sox 3-8 but heading home to face two of the worst teams in the league, it would be the perfect time to make up some ground in the standings, right?

(4/9 vs. Toronto Blue Jays): Well, maybe not. With their home opener, the Red Sox became the last team in Major League Baseball this season to play their first home game, a ridiculous travesty that the league should be ashamed of. The reigning champions and that's how they spent the first two weeks of the season? In any event, the prevailing wisdom across Red Sox Nation was that the return home would rejuvenate the team and that the road trip would soon be a distant memory. Instead, after they got their rings, unfurled their championship banner, and honored the fellow 2018 champion Patriots, the Sox fell flat on their faces in front of a home crowd that started leaving in the sixth inning. Chris Sale got the start and once again looked like a shell of himself, throwing erratically with decreased velocity and control issues. The low point came when Lourdes Gurriel stole home to cap off a Blue Jays rally that gave them a 5-2 lead. Not even Moreland's power surge (another homer in this one) could help. It was surreal to hear the boos rain down on the team, but they were unquestionably earned as the Sox stumbled badly and lost this one 7-5.

(4/11 vs. Toronto Blue Jays): After a day off, the two teams finished off this short two game series with what looked like another crushing defeat early. Nathan Eovaldi continued his terrible 2019 by giving up an early three-run home run to Justin Smoak in the third inning. He gave up a two-run shot to Rowdy Tellez later in the inning and in the blink of an eye, the Sox were in a 5-0 hole. It was a miserable start to the game but the Sox fought back led by another Moreland home run and Pedroia's first RBI in forever to cut the deficit to 5-3. The Sox crept closer but then gave up a late run to Toronto which made it 6-5. In the bottom of the ninth, though, Moreland tied the game when he doubled to drive Mookie Betts in before Rafael Devers singled in the game-winner. The 7-6 victory was much needed and really exciting, although it would be nice if all of the Sox' wins so far this season weren't comebacks after getting down early in games. Since wins are at a premium this season, though, I suppose beggars can't be choosers.

(4/12 vs. Baltimore Orioles): A four game series with the lowly Orioles seemed to be just what the Sox needed to fatten up their record and get back on track. Andrew Benintendi suddenly rediscovered his power (if only for a game) when he belted his first homer of the season early in the game. The Sox opened up a 3-0 lead and the mercurial Eduardo Rodriguez delivered the best performance by a Boston starter this season over seven shutout innings (and on only 93 pitches!). He earned the first win by a Boston starter this season, which is simultaneously good and pathetic. The Sox tacked on some insurance runs later in the game and it's a good thing they did because Baltimore made a late surge that fell just short. The Sox won 6-4 and wait...what's that? A winning streak? Yes, fans, the Sox had their first winning streak of the season at two games. I know it sounds lame to be excited about it, but the way this season has gone so far, we've got to take what we can get...

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(4/13 vs. Baltimore Orioles): Surely the Red Sox would keep beating up on the Orioles and make it three straight, right? To that I answer: you have been watching the team this season, yes? Just when it seemed like they'd put it all together, they came out and delivered another stinker which reminds you that something is seriously wrong with this team this season. We have a large enough sample size now to confirm that Rick Porcello operates on an even year/odd year cycle and that we should be in for a brutal 2019 from him. He not only got shelled, but he gave up the first hit Chris Davis has gotten since September 2018. Previously 0-58, Davis managed to club THREE hits and FOUR RBI in this game as the Sox were pounded. The final score was 9-5 but that makes it look closer than it really was as the final two Boston runs came during a meaningless ninth inning. In a season rapidly filling up with low points, getting beaten like a drum by a AAAA squad like the Orioles, and allowing Davis to bust out, has to be one of the lowest.  So much for that winning streak.

Quick Hits: It's not just one thing the Red Sox are doing poorly this season; every facet of their game has been bad. The starting pitching has been abysmal with one or two exceptions, the hitting inconsistent, and bullpen mostly solid but erratic, and the defense atrocious. The amount of errors this team is piling up so far this season is unbelievable, especially as they were one of the top defensive teams last year. Only JD Martinez, Xander Bogaerts, and the currently hot Mitch Moreland are hitting well while pretty much everyone else is having terrible starts to the season. The body language and demeanor of the team during and after games continues to be poor and it's clear that it's wearing on them as much as it is on the fans. This next week won't get any easier as they wrap up the Baltimore series before going on the road to face the injured but still dangerous Yankees and the first place Rays. I'm not exaggerating when I say that how they finish this month will make or break the season. It's time to stop talking about what's wrong and put it into action by playing better, period.

5-10 record, 4th in AL East (6 GB the Rays)

If you love the Red Sox as much as I do, you'll enjoy my book A Win For Every Stitch which chronicles their historic 2018 season from Opening Day to the end of the World Series. It may even help take your mind off of how bad this season has been so far. Click below to check it out and read some reviews...every Sox fan will love it!

Monday, April 8, 2019

2019 Red Sox Week in Review: 3/30-4/6

The Red Sox got off to a slow start in their first two games last week, going 1-1 and looking woefully unprepared. The starting pitching was bad but the bats were producing so it seemed only a matter or time before they'd put it all together, right? Well, if you watched any one of the eight games they played in between then and now, you'll know that it wasn't the case; if you didn't, well, you're in for one heck of a baseball horror story...

(3/30 at Seattle Mariners): Eduardo Rodriguez' first start of the season showed that the hype he was getting all spring training was unwarranted; he was the same old frustrating tease that he's been his entire career. The Sox tied the game at two in the third inning, but E-Rod had his unexpected meltdown and left with a 6-2 deficit. It took him 105 pitches just to get through 4.1 innings and it was too big of a hole for the team to dig out of. Boston made a valiant comeback in the ninth but fell short as Xander Bogaerts had a brutal strikeout looking to end the game 6-5 Mariners. Mookie Betts made an incredible catch in right field, but overall the defense was shaky again and it would only get worse as the week went on.

(3/31 at Seattle Mariners): The Sox went for the series split and struck first, scoring three runs in the first inning. Would that be enough for Rick Porcello to give the team their first win by a starting pitcher? Unfortunately, the answer was a resounding "no." They had a complete meltdown in the third inning which was catalyzed by an error on a fly ball by JD Martinez in left field. A walk and a home run wiped out the Red Sox lead and when the dust settled, they were down 9-3. The Sox again mounted a late comeback, but again it was too little too late. The final tally was 10-8 and a loss in the first series of the season for Boston. They must have been all too happy to leave Seattle, too, because the Mariners were just killing the ball all four games. It was then off to Oakland to see if the Sox could get back on track and in the win column.

(4/1 at Oakland Athletics): David Price made his first start of the season and ended up giving the Red Sox their best performance from a starting pitcher in the young season so far. He was good and gave the team the rotation's best performance by far, giving up four runs over six innings, but that still wasn't enough to stave off defeat. The bullpen, including my least favorite reliever ever in Heath Hembree, gave up another three runs and the bats did nothing as the Sox went down meekly to the tune of 7-0. They finally got a decent performance from a starter and couldn't take advantage of it...somehow, only five games into the season that seemed to sum up the entire campaign so far.

(4/2 at Oakland Athletics): Chris Sale looked to bounce back from his dismal Opening Day start in his second start of the season. It was clear from the beginning that something was wrong with him...his stuff was flat, he labored to get through the first few innings, and his fastball was averaging a slow (for him) 89-90 mph. And yet, somehow he gutted out six innings of one-run ball. He only struck out one batter, but he used his guile and off-speed stuff to stifle the A's and keep the Red Sox in it. So of course, the team mustered exactly zero runs of support and lost the game 1-0. Even when the Sox get two solid pitching performances from their starters, they can't convert them into wins. It's a troubling pattern for the season already and it's only been six games.

(4/3 at Oakland Athletics): It was Nathan Eovaldi's turn to try and have a solid second start, but once again Red Sox starting pitching couldn't come through. He made it through five innings and gave up three runs, but those three runs erased the early 3-0 lead the Sox had built earlier in the game. It took a freak hit from Mookie, a scorching liner that hit the third base bag and ricocheted into left field for a two-out two-RBI double, to put the team back on top late in the game. That proved to be the difference maker (although Andrew Benintendi added an insurance run for good measure) as the Sox held on to win their second game of the season 6-3. 

(4/4 at Oakland Athletics): The series finale gave Boston a great chance to try and earn a series sweep as well as some redemption for Eduardo Rodriguez. Boston got out to another early lead which E-Rod gave right back with a monster three-run blast to Stephen Piscotty which tied it up. From there, the A's kept pouring it on and the final indignity came when Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley didn't communicate on a routine fly ball and allowed it to bounce in between them and over the fence for a two-RBI ground rule double. Oakland won this game 7-3 and knocked E-Rod out after less than four innings. It was hard to believe he'd be worse than his first start, but he managed the feat just the same. After the game Alex Cora said "we're not paying attention to details," to which I replied "well, who's fault is that, Alex?" It's almost as though those of us who warned that they took it too easy in spring training were right in saying that they weren't ready to begin the season. As the Sox limped out of Oakland, it didn't seem like things could get any worse...but they did. 

(4/5 at Arizona Diamondbacks): In a young season already full of low moments, the Sox wasted no time in reaching their nadir. Rick Porcello was absolutely awful as were the Sox relievers. They went down 14-1 in this game and only a late and meaningless rally in the late innings prevented this from being a horrendous blowout. The final margin of defeat was 15-8, but that score makes the game look much closer than it really was. There had already been a few instances of the team visibly showing their frustration, from Xander Bogaerts and Mookie Betts pounding the ground after they each got thrown out at third base, to Jackie Bradley pouting in the dugout after a strikeout, but the low point was seeing Porcello trashing the dugout and throwing a water cooler after his night was through.  That and Eduardo Nunez actually pitching an's never a good thing when a position player ends up on the mound! There are some major, major issues with this team and that's a very concerning thing to see after so few games.

(4/6 at Arizona Diamondbacks): As the only Red Sox starter who has given the team a decent start, David Price was well on his way to doing it again when the team jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead; he even helped his own cause by hitting an RBI single. It all came crashing down immediately afterward when Arizona scored four runs to take the lead. The Sox squandered a golden opportunity to blow the game wide open in the eighth when they loaded the bases twice and only came away with a single run to tie it. It came back to haunt them when Alex Cora left Colten Brewer (who the Diamondbacks were hitting hard all inning) in too long in the ninth. Mookie bailed them out by gunning down the would-be winning run at the plate, but Carson Kelly followed with a single to left field that ended the game 5-4 in favor of Arizona. It was another gut-punch loss in a young season full of them so far.

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Quick Hits: Boston's starting pitching continued to be awful, giving up at least a home run in every game until the second Arizona game...that made it TEN straight games to start the season where their opponent hit at least one homer. They also committed at least an error in every game except two during this entire stretch. For a team that was one of the top defensive squads in all of 2018, it's been shocking how many mental mistakes they've been making in the field. Between the bad pitching, shaky defense, and angry outbursts, it's been a complete 180 from how this team was last year. In 2018, they led a charmed existence and everything went right for them. So far in 2019, almost nothing has gone right and they haven't exactly handled it with grace or resolve. Even Alex Cora has been snippy and snarky with the press which isn't a good look. There's one more game against Arizona and a day off before the home opener at Fenway'll be fascinating to see the reception they get from the home crowd and how/if they bounce back and start playing up to their talent level.

2-8 record, 5th in AL East (4.5 GB the Rays)

If you love the Red Sox as much as I do, you'll enjoy my book A Win For Every Stitch which chronicles their historic 2018 season from Opening Day to the end of the World Series. Click below to check it out and read some reviews...every Sox fan will love it!