The Boston Red Sox are struggling in the second half of the season, losers of four of their last five games, including a 6-5, 13 inning defeat against the Mariners in Seattle last night.
Drew Pomeranz started for Boston but was long forgotten by the time Jean Segura singled up the middle to score Guillermo Heredia with the winning run. Heredia had advanced from first to third on a wild pitch by Doug Fister, a pitch that allowed the tying run to score in the bottom of the 13th after Sandy Leon had given the Red Sox a 5-4 lead in the top of the frame with an RBI single. But Fister, who was in his third inning of relief when he threw the fatal wild pitch, is not entirely to blame. The Red Sox offense, or lack thereof, continues to plague the team. The Sox stranded two runners in the 8th, the 9th, and the 11th, and despite a solo home run by Hanley Ramirez, the team is still last in round trippers in the American League.
The Sox are looking for offense anywhere they can find it and made a trade last night to help, and last night also debuted 20-year old Rafael Devers at third base to try and jump start the sputtering offensive engine. Devers was 0 for 3 but did walk twice and scored a run and played well defensively at third, but probably won't see a ton of time there now with the Red Sox acquisition of San Francisco Giants third baseman Eduardo Nunez. The Sox sent two minor league pitchers to the Giants for the speedy Nunez, who's having a fine year at the plate with a .308 average and since June he's been on a tear, with a .348 average that's the fourth highest in the majors.
Nunez has some defensive deficiencies but can play multiple positions including outfield because of his speed, and perhaps can platoon with Devers or give Xander Bogaerts as occasional rest at short stop. But Nunez won't solve the Red Sox power problems. He's got just four homers on the year and the Red Sox still need to get more pop in the middle of their line-up to replace all those runs Big Papi used to drive in, so Dave Dombrowski is probably not done dealing in advance of the July 31st trading deadline. Here's a vote to bring on the NY Mets Jay Bruce if the asking price isn't too high.
The Red Sox play a matinee getaway game against Seattle today and the good news is ace Chris Sale will be on the mound for Boston. The Red Sox have seen their first place lead over the NY Yankees shrink to just one game in the A.L. east with the rough road trip, and need a win today before heading home to Fenway.
As for the Yankees, they took care of the Cincinnati Reds with a 4-2 win at the Stadium last night, and what a home debut it was for the Yanks' newly acquired third Baseman Todd Frazier. Frazier came up in the second inning with no outs and the bases loaded, and drove in a run...while hitting into a triple play. What a game baseball is. Frazier hit a shot up the middle that was grabbed by the Reds short stop, who stepped on second for one out, then threw to first for another, but Didi Gregorius, who was on second, wasn't sure if the ball was going to be caught on a fly when it was hit, and broke late for third. First baseman Joey Votto saw that, and threw across the diamond to nail Gregorius at third to complete the triple play but the runner on third did score, and because the Yankees eventually won, Frazier was able to laugh about it afterwards. Jordan Montgomery took a no-hitter into the sixth and finished with his 7th win of the season.
The NY Mets got a hard fought win against the Padres in San Diego last night, hanging on for a 6-5 win thanks to a big night at the plate by Yoenis Cespedes, who finished a single shy of the cycle. He had an excuse me, check swing triple in the seventh to drive in two for the eventual winning runs for the Mets, who have won six of their last seven but are still expected to be sellers before the trade deadline, at least I certainly hope so, because I really do want the Red Sox to poach Jay Bruce from their roster.
The Toronto Blue Jays, eight games out of first and in last place in the A.L. east will almost certainly shop some players, despite beating the Oakland A's 4-1 last night. And if you want a feel good story as a Blue Jays fan, how about starter Cesar Valdez getting his first win since 2010. Valdez threw a career high six innings and left to a standing ovation from the crowd at the Rogers Centre in the seventh.
In the NY Penn League, the Vermont Lake Monsters wasted no time getting out to a big lead against the Tri City Valley Cats last night. The Monsters scored five runs in the first inning on their way to an 11-3 victory at Centennial Field.
Vermont loaded the bases and then scored three times to add to a 2-0 lead on Will Toffey's two-run double and a single by Payton Squier. Ryan Gridley finished three for four on the night and Wyatt Marks picked up the win on the hill. The first place Lake Monsters get a day of rest today before taking on the Tigers in Connecticut for a three game series starting Thursday.
In the NECBL the Vermont Mountaineers have been struggling, winners of just two of their last nine but they picked up a 3-2 win over the New Bedford Bay Sox last night in Massachusetts, riding a complete game gem by Thomas Muratore, who went seven full innings while giving up just just one earned run on five hits, striking out six along the way for his second win of the year. The Mountaineers scored two runs in the fourth and one in the sixth to give Muratore just enough padding to notch the victory.
The Upper Valley Nighthawks keep rolling and last night used a ninth inning rally to beat the North Adams Steeple Cats 7-4 in western Massachusetts. Trailing 4-2 heading into the ninth, the Nighthawks rallied for five runs and the victory.