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 inning...it'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.

This post contains affiliate links which means that at no additional cost to you, I may receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase. This helps me keep this site going to bring you more great content. Thanks and enjoy!

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 Park...it'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!


Saturday, March 30, 2019

2019 Red Sox Week in Review: 3/28-3/29

In the interest of time (and my sanity), this season I'm going to be doing weekly recaps of Red Sox games. Last season I did daily recaps and while it was a lot of fun and resulted in the publication of my popular book A Win For Every Stitch, it was also exhausting. This go around, I'm going to offer up bite-sized recaps of every game the Sox play in a week. Since the season just started two days ago, this first one will be short, but from here on out they'll be longer. Either way, as the Sox embark upon a defense of their 2018 World Series championship, the 2019 season promises to be an interesting one...let's see how it unfolds!


OPENING DAY (3/28 at Seattle Mariners): The defending champion Red Sox open the 2019 season with an eleven game West Coast road trip starting with a four game series against the Seattle Mariners. Chris Sale made his second straight Opening Day start for the Red Sox, but unlike last year's dominant performance which was blown by the bullpen, this year it was Sale who blew it. He gave up seven runs in three innings, including three home runs. The Sox were never in this game and were blown out 12-4. The lone bright spots were multi-hit games from Mookie Betts (3-5) and JD Martinez (2-5). The pitching was absolutely atrocious across the board and Brian Johnson, who pitched a clean eighth inning, was the only Boston pitcher to not allow a run. File this game away as one to forget, and remember...that's why they play 162 of them.


(3/29 at Seattle Mariners): Postseason hero Nathan Eovaldi made his first start of the season and looked to help the Sox bounce back after the disappointment of Opening Day. Unfortunately, he was almost as bad as Sale was the night before. He surrendered six runs, four of them on home runs, and didn't look particularly sharp. Mariners rookie pitcher Yusei Kikuchi kept the Sox off-balance over six innings and only allowed three runs (two earned) including solo homers by Xander Bogaerts and JD. The Sox mounted a late comeback which included a solo homer from Christian Vazquez and the game-winning three-run blast from Mitch Moreland in the top of the ninth. Matt Barnes picked up his first save of the season and the Sox took this one in dramatic fashion 7-6.


This post contains affiliate links which means that at no additional cost to you, I may receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase. This helps me keep this site going to bring you more great content. Thanks and enjoy!

Quick Hits: The starting pitching has been atrocious so far...I know it's only two games, but this was supposed to be one of the team's biggest strengths so it bears further watching as to whether it was a case of shaking the rust off or if there is going to be some major regression from last season. The bats have been mostly effective so far, showing that no lead is too much for this team to come back from. Finally, the bullpen was awful in the opener, but pitched well in holding the Mariners scoreless for the latter half of the second game in order to allow the offense to mount the comeback. Next up this week: two more games against the Mariners to wrap up the opening series followed by four games in Oakland and three in Arizona (ugh, interleague play already?!)

1-1 record, 2nd in AL East (0.5 GB the Yankees)


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!

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Baseball is Back!: Opening Day 2019

Photo: www.twitter.com/redsox
For baseball fans far and wide, today is one of our favorite unofficial holidays. It's the beginning of yet another season where, no matter who you root for, hope springs eternal. This could be the year for your team (unless you root for, say, the Marlins in which case sorry, but you've got no chance!). Where I live the winter weather has been stubbornly hanging on for dear life, but there are signs of spring everywhere. My kids' baseball and softball seasons are finally moving from indoor training to outdoor practices and while the weather hasn't cooperated much, little by little it's getting better. Soon it'll be warm and sunny and I'll be spending parts of every day and night at a ball field somewhere, coaching and cheering my kids and their teams on, going to some minor league games, spitting out sunflower seed shells, and playing catch, throwing grounders and fly balls, or tossing batting practice. I'll also spend the next six (and hopefully seven) months living and dying with my Red Sox as I've done since I was born and as I will until I die. 

So wherever you are and whoever you root for, get ready to hear those two words we've waited all winter to hear: PLAY BALL!

If you happen to be a fan of my favorite team, the Boston Red Sox, you might 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...any baseball fan and Sox fan will love it.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

NEW BOOK RELEASE: A Win For Every Stitch: A Fan's Diary of the 2018 Boston Red Sox Championship Season




                            BOOK OPTIONS (Please Choose Based on Your Location)

My new book A Win For Every Stitch: A Fan's Diary of the 2018 Boston Red Sox Championship Season has just been released and is now available for purchase. For anyone who may have missed my original announcement of this book back in November, here's the blurb from the back cover:  

"There are 108 stitches on a baseball and in 2018 the Boston Red Sox won 108 games: a win for every stitch. At the beginning of the season, Drew Athans decided to keep a running diary of every game to have fun and to see if he could do it. With the Red Sox going all the way and winning the World Series, it turned into the perfect memento of an historic baseball season which he's now decided to share with all Red Sox fans. Containing recaps of every game the team played from late March when the season started to the final game of the World Series in October, A Win For Every Stitch is a book for any Sox fan. Relive all of the ups, downs, thrilling wins, and excruciating losses that made up this Red Sox season for the ages."

The book is now available for you to purchase on Amazon as a paperback for $19.99 and a Kindle e-book for $4.99As a special limited time offer, you can order a SIGNED copy of the paperback directly from me for $19.99. This is something I did for my second book and it was very popular. Just use the PayPal button above to select a copy based on your location, order, and pay (you don't need to have a PayPal account in order to purchase). Please MAKE SURE you choose the correct option and make sure to include your mailing address. For the signature, please include in the notes section of the order form any special inscription you'd like me to sign (otherwise, I will come up with my own). Be careful to choose the correct option depending on where you live: the USA price includes shipping anywhere in the USA, but for international orders there will be an additional $10.00 charge for shipping (this is based on what it has typically cost me to ship books out of the country in the past).

Please keep in mind that I am a one-man operation! I am self-publishing this book and will be handling all of the shipping of orders myself, so please bear with me. I will do my absolute best to process every order as quickly as I can and will email each of you when your order has shipped. PLEASE ALLOW 1-2 weeks for your order to get to you after you place it. If you're ordering as a Christmas gift and absolutely need to have it in time, I would recommend ordering an unsigned copy from Amazon. If you want a signed copy and are okay risking the chance of it getting it to you a few days after Christmas, I will still do my best to get it to you on time. 

If there are any questions about the process, please let me know in the comments section below or email me at rockandrollchemist@gmail.com and I will answer immediately. Thanks and I hope you enjoy my book!

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Baseball Is (Almost) Back! (2019 Edition)

Winter is nearing its end and it's almost spring, so you know what that means, right? It means that just as in 2017 and 2018, it's time for my annual ode to baseball and the upcoming Major League Baseball season. There's a lot to get into as I look back on last season before looking forward to this one. It's been a very inconsistent winter where I live; periods of bitter cold and snow followed by unseasonably warm weather, and then back to frigid temperatures. This cycle has gone on ad nauseum and by this point, despite how much I like winter I'm fully ready for spring. Since early January my son's travel baseball team (which I help coach) and my oldest daughter's high school softball team have been practicing indoors and we're all chomping at the bit to get outside onto real grass and dirt. With anticipation for my kids' seasons as well as the upcoming MLB (and by extension, Red Sox) season, this is where I'll look back at the 2018 season on both a baseball as well as a personal level.

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As it pertained to the Red Sox, 2018 couldn't have been any better than it was. The team rampaged through the regular season to the tune of 108 wins and the best record in all of MLB. They finally got past the first round of the postseason for the first time since 2008 with an exciting four-game series win over the hated Yankees that included a 16-1 pasting in game three. They defeated the defending champion Astros in five games in an ALCS that was filled with some truly dramatic moments. Finally, in the World Series they defeated the Dodgers in five games, overcoming a heartbreaking loss in an 18-inning epic game three to take the final two games in Los Angeles for their eighth title and fourth since 2004. It was the culmination of a season for the ages which included the most wins in franchise history and their most dominant postseason run ever (11-3 across the ALDS, ALCS, and World Series). The 2019 squad will bring almost everybody back who was a major contributor in 2018 including Nathan Eovaldi and World Series MVP Steve Pearce, both of whom came to the Sox via midseason trades and who were indispensable contributors in October. The only key losses have been in the bullpen (Joe Kelly signed as a free agent with the Dodgers and Craig Kimbrel remains an unsigned free agent) and second basemen Ian Kinsler who signed as a free agent with the Padres. In addition to everybody returning, the Red Sox will hopefully have some key contributors coming up through their farm system. So far during this Spring Training their number one prospect, Michael Chavis, has looked really good swinging the bat as has Bobby Dalbec. Young players like Sam Travis and Tzu-Wei Lin who played well in their stints with the big club have also played very well. While I'm still very concerned about the bullpen, perhaps more so than in years past given that the Sox now have no real closer (although a growing section of fans and writers seem to think Ryan Brasier will be able to step in and fill the role) this year may be the biggest test of how well the Boston relief corps can replenish itself from within. I will admit that the with the Yankees having gotten seemingly stronger through their offseason acquisitions while the Red Sox stood pat, I could very well see New York winning the division this season. However, this Red Sox team is coming off a dominating season and will be another year older, wiser, confident, and more experienced playing together. It should be another dogfight throughout the summer for supremacy in the AL East (and let's not forget about the Rays who quietly won 90 games last year). Isn't that all we could ever want as baseball fans, for the Red Sox and Yankees to both be good so that the games mean something? I know I can't wait!

On a personal level, the 2018 Red Sox season was one of the best in my life. While it of course wasn't as life-changing (at least as a sports fan) and cathartic as 2004, the 2018 season brought so many new experiences and positive changes to my life that I'll never forget it. First and foremost, the running diary I kept of the entire season from March to October resulted in my third published book and perhaps the one I'm most proud of, A Win For Every Stitch. I've written about it a few times on this site and I don't want to belabor the point, but it's a book I'm very proud of and one that so far has been 100% popular with readers and customers. Sales have been great but what humbles and excites me the most is when I get messages and emails from fans who tell me how much they love the book and how it brought back such great memories of last season. The book, all of the work I put into it, and the Red Sox themselves also led to a lot of other cool new things that happened in my life in 2018. I wrote about these in the book, but they include writing for Guy Boston Sports, two of my kids and I getting to meet Mookie Betts at his baseball clinic, and all of the opportunities opened up and the people I met because of my baseball writing.


One question I've been asked repeatedly since A Win For Every Stitch was released was whether I'm going to write another book on this upcoming season. The idea hadn't crossed my mind and it certainly wasn't my intention to follow it up with another book on the Red Sox. I've acknowledged in the book as well as on this site that I was exceptionally fortunate that the season I chose to challenge myself and write about ended up being the greatest season in franchise history and culminated with a World Series championship. It all ended up being so perfect and honestly, I'm not sure how I could ever top it. However, there is something intriguing to me about the upcoming 2019 season since the Red Sox are returning pretty much the entire team that won it all intact and will be trying to not only defend their title, but become the first team since the 1998/1999/2000 Yankees to repeat as champions. I haven't yet decided if I'll do it, but if I do I may keep it quiet to see either A) how long I keep it going (remember the out I gave myself last year?) or B) whether or not this season ends up being interesting enough to warrant another book.

Regardless of whether I write another book about the Red Sox or not, I cannot wait for this season. Along with my kids' baseball and softball teams finishing up their indoor workouts over the next few weeks before we get outside onto real fields (weather permitting), the winter which has been dragging on and on for the last few weeks should hopefully be coming to an end as spring, warmer temperatures, and the promise of new seasons both amateur and professional gives me hope and optimism as it does every year around this time. There's a old saying that I've always liked that says "baseball is the only game that can make a kid feel like a grown man, and a grown man feel like a kid." A related quote is that "you can be a kid for as long as you want when you play baseball." There's just something special about this game and about this time of year that has always filled me with excitement. Having kids who are as into the game, both watching it and playing it, only makes it more special to me. No matter who you root for, it's all about hope and the promise that this might be the year for your favorite team. With that, I wish you and your team the best of luck (unless it's the Yankees!) and since it's my blog, I'll close with an exhortation of my own: Go Sox!