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Boston Red Sox Pitcher Brian Johnson Pitches Complete Game Shutout

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Boston Red Sox Pitcher Brian Johnson In A Spot Start Pitches A Complete Game Shutout In A 6-2 Win Over The Texas Rangers

The Boston Red Sox have had a lot of issues finding pitchers who can throw a spot start and have legitimate success. But on Saturday when they called upon Brain Johnson, he was able to pitch extraordinarily well and give Boston the outing it so desperately wanted from a spot starter.

Johnson tossed a complete game shutout, and allowed only five hits, while not walking a batter and striking out eight. He needed 109 pitches to throw nine innings which was remarkable for Johnson. Boston Red Sox Manager John Farrell was very pleased with the outing by Johnson and was astounded by Johnson’s ability to get through innings with a limited number of pitches.

“I think so many innings, you write down how many pitches per inning, he had 13 for three consecutive, I don’t think he threw more than 17 pitches in any one inning,” manager John Farrell said. “But, again, getting ahead in the count, first-pitch strikes were so key for him and really had good finish to his fastball through the zone. Take away the velocity, just look at the action, some of the swings they were taking, he had a good depth to his breaking ball to keep them off-stride. He led the breaking ball, he finished a couple of left-handers with sliders. You can’t say enough about the way he pitched. He was outstanding.”

It is important to note that Johnson is not overpowering by any stretch of the imagination with the left-hander only topping out in the high-80’s with his fastball, but his strengths are through his ability to hit his spots.

In the 6-2 win over the Texas Rangers, Johnson was aided by spectacular defensive efforts. One was by Boston Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts who robbed Nelson Cruz of a home run in the fourth inning and then Jackie Bradley Jr. made a great catch up against the wall in center to take an extra base hit away from Robinson Cano in the sixth. Bradley Jr. also made a diving catch in the ninth.

This was the second major league start of the season for Johnson, and his second win. In seven starts with the PawSox, he is 2-0 with a 2.82 ERA. Johnson took a leave of absence last season to battle with anxiety, but he has overcome this ordeal and is always excited to come up to Boston and perform for the big league club.

“You always want to come up here and do well, and now that there’s obviously some stuff I’ve gone through in my career, but it’s an awesome feeling,” Johnson said.

Johnson likely won’t be sticking with the Red Sox beyond the one start with David Price returning on Monday, but if another injury occurs or if Drew Pomeranz struggles, Johnson has put himself in the conversation to be relied on as a serviceable major league starter.

Tanner founded Trifecta Network in Spring of 2016 and has been the Chief of Content for the Network since that time. Currently Tanner covers all the sports teams in Boston and has contacts in many of the teams in the city. Before starting Trifecta, Tanner was a Site Expert for the FanSided site Chowder and Champions before leaving to cover Boston teams on the ground as a member of the media for Trifecta.

Boston Red Sox

Red Sox Win 5 In A Row, Magic Number Down To 5

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Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox are winners of five straight games in a row. Their last loss came back on the 17th when they lost to the Tampa Bay Rays 3-2. This run that they are on has helped catapult them into a four-game lead over the New York Yankees for first place in the AL East.

New York, clinched a playoff spot on Saturday and acted like they had won the World Series. There was champagne popping in the locker room and photos all over the social spheres. The overreaction of baseball playoff-clinching continues. Boston happened to clinch their playoff spot last week. Did any of you see a clubhouse party? Nope. Me neither.

Boston has started to showcase hidden gems like the resurgence of Eduardo Rodriguez, Rafael Devers, and the return of David Price who has been stellar so far out of the bullpen.

Thier latest winning streak is impressive. But it is also important not to overreact to a good team beating a string of bad teams. Getting hot at the right time matters though.

With 8 games remaining their magic number to win the AL East for the second straight season is sitting at 5 games. New York continues to win ballgames of their own keeping this pennant race one that could go all the way to the end.

One more game in Cincinnati on Sunday, then 7 games to finish off the regular season at Fenway Park. A three-game set against Toronto, and a four-game set against Houston, one of the best teams in the American League to end it.

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Boston Red Sox

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

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Boston Red Sox

Can you believe that game last night? Boy oh boy, what a doozy! Now we understand why the NFL insists on, not only scheduling but broadcasting Thursday Night Football games. I mean, the San Francisco 49ers doing battle with the Los Angeles Rams: That’s practically playoff football people. What a treat!

If you haven’t detected the sarcasm that my words are saturated with, you’re probably one of those fanboys who actually appreciate the “TNF” games. To you I say: How? Yes I understand that last night’s game was high-scoring and that it came down to the wire. But that betrays the incompetence of both the 49ers and the Rams defenses. It was playground football!

Even NBC’s Chris Collinsworth has to scrape the barrel to find the enthusiasm to provide commentary for these abominations. They’re so unwatchable; the NFL had to create it’s own television network to find a place that would televise Thursday night games. That’s pushing it man.

But have no fear: Sunday will soon be here. (Pretend that some catchy jingle is playing) which means it’s now time for, everybody’s favorite: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

The Good

The Red Sox are rolling right now, with some serious momentum.

Earlier this week, we saw our boys trounced the Baltimore Orioles, taking every game of a 3-game series. This was just part of an inordinate 12-game road trip that the Sox have been on since September 15th – the type of challenge that can make or break any team’s postseason bid.

On this excursion, every element of the Sox has performed indomitably. With October nearing on the horizon, the barometer is certainly reading in Boston’s favor.

The Sox outscored the Bird’s 20-8, over the course of this series in Baltimore. Our offense was firing on all cylinders. Mookie Betts went 4-14 with 6 RBI’s, including a homer and a triple. Crystallizing his role in October, the young Rafael Devers went 4-9 in the 2 games that he played.

Collectively Sox pitching produced a 3.63 ERA with 35 K’s in 29 innings pitched. These stats were greatly padded by the clinics that Drew Pomeranz and Chris Sale put on. Big Smooth tossed an impeccable 6.1 innings of shutout ball on Tuesday; while Sale picked up his 300th K of the season, shutting out Baltimore on Wednesday night. Entertaining baseball, to say the least.

Now the bummer is: The Yankees have been able to parallel our recent success. Yes, Boston has maintained it’s 3-game lead over New York, in the AL East, going 7-3 in their last 10 games. But the Yankees are 8-2 in that same span. We cannot take our foot off of the pedal. New York is pressing aggressively on our heels, not allowing any room for error.

The Red Sox head to Cincinnati to face the Reds this weekend, not exactly a late-season crucible. For the Sox, as they wrap up this 12-game road trip, the top priority will be to stay focused and confident. This young team controls its own destiny right now. Boston can’t afford to vouchsafe the Yankees any half-games as the pennant-race comes to a conclusion. For the time being, it’s looking pretty good Sox Nation.

The Bad

After a recent foul-ball tragedy, 4 MLB teams have announced that they will be extending the protective netting in their respective stadiums. What’s bad about this: It’s only 4 of the 30 teams that comprise the MLB.

Wednesday afternoon, at Yankee Stadium, Todd Frazier turned on a pitch and pulled it over the third-base dugout. This ball was a gelid frozen-rope; he dead pulled it. Traveling at a speed well over 100 MPH, this foul-ball violently struck the face of an unexpecting child in the stands. The little girl was severely injured. She was escorted out of Yankee Stadium on a stretcher and is currently hospitalized in critical condition.

There wasn’t any netting or shield to mitigate the force of this projectile. Given the estimated distance from home-plate to where this girl was seated, she had about .68 seconds to react. MLB players are paid millions to anticipate and to field such line-drives. Pedestrian fans do not have the reflexes to defend against professional hitting.

In a day and age where many fans are abstracted by smartphones and jumbotrons, it’s now more important than ever to revamp fan safety. Will the netting slightly detract from your view of the game? Yes. But we’ll eventually become desensitized to this not-so obstructing obstruction. Bear in mind that the seats directly behind home-plate are already protected by this type of netting, and they’re still the most coveted seats in the ballpark.

As with any sport, safety measures always seem fun-crushing, when they are first implemented. Hockey players didn’t want to wear helmets; baseball players used to catch the ball with mittens. Players adjust and so do fans.

Netting that surrounds the entire perimeter of the field is not what’s being suggested here. After all, baseball is the only sport where it is common for fans in attendance to bring the equipment to catch balls outside of the field-of-play. So catch your accessible fly-balls, that’s great. But the MLB needs to calculate the standard for average “fan reaction time” and set up netting accordingly. There’s a reason why seats directly behind home-plate are protected by such a thing. Fans are not professional baseball players, therefore they cannot be expected to react like one.

The Ugly

On a lighter-note: TNF is an ugly product. I’m sorry, but I still have some rage chambered up from last night’s game between the 49ers and the Rams. We saw garbage against garbage, illustrated by the underwhelming finish to this “shootout”.

The 49ers are on the 50 yard-line, after having recovered an onside kick. They’re down 39-41 with a little over 2 minutes left to go in the 4th. How do they seize the moment? By going three-and-out, punctuated by Brian Hoyer being sacked on a 4th and 20.

It never used to be like this; Thursday Night Football used to be a rarity and something to look forward to. Now it’s an example of the NFL inundating it’s fan-base with content. If we’re going to play these gratuitous games, at least make the matchups appealing. Save for the season-opener, TNF this year has featured discarded small-market underdogs nipping at each other’s throats.

Roger Goodell and his subordinates who create the schedule need to decide what type of contest they want TNF to be. Is it simply a midweek throw-away game, or a hearty appetizer that stimulates the interest of fans going into the weekend? So far, it’s been the former.

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Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox Popularity Decline Overblown

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Boston Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox are officially a playoff-bound team. After a 9-0 win over the Orioles on Wednesday paired with an Indians 6-5 win over the Angels, the Red Sox have officially clinched a postseason spot.

That spot for the moment is an AL Wild Card spot with the game to be played on October 3rd. Just getting to the postseason isn’t the goal for this year’s Red Sox team though.

I think any win  this time of the year given where we are in the standings and what is at stake, any win is important,” Farrell said. “Just getting into the playoffs is not our goal. Certainly it’s a stepping  stone toward other things that we have our sights set on, as many teams do. We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us.”

As it currently sits the Red Sox hold a 3 game lead over the never dying New York Yankees. Despite a pennant battle in full swing, the vibe in Boston isn’t focusing in on the Red Sox. Part of it may be the fact that the Red Sox and Yankees have not faced each other head to head in awhile and will not do so unless they meet up in the playoffs.

Even with that, there doesn’t seem to be that much interest in this years team. Ratings have been all over the place. The other night the second game of the series with Baltimore did an 8 in Boston. That is a good number for a weeknight game. But as of last count, ratings on NESN were down big.

But the last reported figure had them pegged at a 20% decline from the David Ortiz retirement season of 2016. That report came out in early July, so it isn’t a true representation of what has occurred over the last four months.That number has likely rised quite a bit. For some reason though, for a division race, this all feels a tad underwhelming.

Part of it could be some of the black eye storylines from the season, or the likeability of the team, or even the gross underachievement by multiple players throughout their lineup. But even with all of that, this years team has grit, and have shown the 2013 Red Sox ability to battle and win in extra-inning games.

Ratings might be down, but that isn’t shocking. A year removed from David Ortiz will do that. Ortiz was a larger than life player who put on a show. Sure Chris Sale is exciting to watch, but striking out 300+ batters isn’t as exciting as Big Papi smashing balls out of the yard 30+ times.

The ratings decline is overblown and the lack of popular interest is understandable. Sports are becoming more and more of a hardcore fan experience. That is especially the case in a 162 game baseball season. Getting the casual viewer or “pink hat” fan to tune into the game is hard to do. In 2017 many of those types of fans seem to have disappeared from the landscape.

With this year’s Red Sox team knocking on a division title, people will watch.

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