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Boston Red Sox

Pomeranz Struggles on the Mound as the Red Sox make a Comeback

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Red Sox make a comeback

It was a weird day at Fenway yesterday [Sunday].  Nothing was as it seems, especially for [Pitcher] Drew Pomeranz.  The left hander gave up three runs in the firsts inning, right out of the gate, after facing seven batters.  He walked the first batter that he faced and he didn’t throw a strike till the third batter. Pomeranz was struggling to throw strikes, and ended up giving up a high fly ball to the left field wall, which was catch able.  Yet it dropped in giving the Rays an early lead.

Pomeranz picked himself up and dialed in the strike zone, he struck out three to end the 1st inning.  He would later go on to strike out 10 hitters in just 4 1/3rd innings.  He gave up two home runs which gave him a total of 5 Earned Runs.  It was strange to say the least.  Seeing a Pitcher struggle like that, yet being able to be dialed into the strike zone, and get strike outs was weird.  I mean it’s not like he played bad but it’s not like he played that good either.

The Sox needed to get some runs and in the 4th inning they got them.  With [3rd Baseman] Pablo Sandoval, who crushed a high fastball into the Monster Seats for a two run homer.  He now has three for the year.  It’s nice to see him swing the bat like that again after last year.  With that home run the game was now tied up [4-4].  Yet it wouldn’t stay tied as Pomeranz would give up the go ahead home run in the top of the 5th inning.  Forcing the Sox to put in [Pitcher] Joe Kelly into the game, to quiet the Tampa Bay Rays.

The game remained [5-4] Tampa, till [Catcher] Christian Vazquez hit a dribbler on a line for a two run double.  The Red Sox would later score making it a [7-5] ball game.  [Closer] Craig Kimbrel came into the game looking for a save.  And you know what, he pitched lights out.  Nabbing the save with three strike outs in a row.  Now he has a 21 Save Win Streak at Fenway Park, going back to the 2012 Season.  Which is second on the all time list.  As I said before it was a weird day at Fenway.

Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox Make Nunez Signing Official

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On Sunday morning the Boston Red Sox announced that they had signed infielder Eduardo Nunez to a one-year contract through the 2018 season with a player option for the 2019 season.

Nunez was rumored to have agreed to terms with Boston late last week with the infielder just needing to pass a physical to make the deal official. The physical was a major obstacle though with Nunez having a knee injury to end last season and electing not to undergo offseason surgery.

In order to make room for Nunez on the 40-man roster, Boston designated right-handed pitcher Ben Taylor for assignment. The club also announced that Nunez will wear the number 10 and will change bench coach Ron Roenicke‘s number to 20.

Núñez, 30, hit .313 (146-for-467) with 60 runs scored, 33 doubles, 12 home runs, and 58 RBI over 114 games between the San Francisco Giants and Red Sox last season. He set career highs in batting average, on-base percentage (.341), slugging percentage (.460), doubles, and extra-base hits (45). The right-handed batter started 51 games at third base, 25 at second base, 18 in the outfield, 15 at shortstop, and four at designated hitter. After being acquired by Boston on July 25, he made 38 starts for the club, with 25 coming at second base.

In 80 games from May 12 through the end of the 2017 season, Núñez batted .337 (114-for-338) with an .883 OPS. He reached base safely in 33 consecutive games from May 12-July 16, the longest such streak in the majors last season. The Dominican Republic native hit eight home runs in only 38 games with Boston, after he hit four home runs in 76 games with the Giants. He batted .394 (41-for-104) with runners in scoring position between the two clubs, the majors’ second-highest mark behind only Washington’s Daniel Murphy (.409).

Nunez is expected to be the everyday second baseman for the Boston Red Sox until Dustin Pedroia returns from rehabbing his knee after undergoing an offseason surgery. When Pedroia returns it is likely that Nunez will serve as the primary infield backup and might see some time at DH if his bat looks anywhere close to what it did last season.

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Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox Still Appear Too Soft To Win, But There Is Time For Change

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Boston Red Sox

Put a stick of butter in the microwave for 30 seconds and then take it out? Soft huh? Sort of like the 2017 Boston Red Sox and maybe like the 2018 team.

The Boston Red Sox had their fair share of issues in 2017 with an apparent softness that was crystal clear in the high drama surrounding David Price. Certain situations last season gave the team an unlikeability about them that just didn’t sit well. There was the team ganging up on Dennis Eckersley on the team plane to comments in the media that showed the players to be thin-skinned and weak.

The 2017 softness was a major issue that Dave Dombrowski had to fix for 2018 but comments coming out of spring training show a team that hasn’t changed or learned their lessons.

So far you have Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts claiming that the team needs to have more fun this season and that last season was too focused on winning every game.

Then the little leader Dustin Pedroia claimed that last years team was “really result-oriented that day”.

“I just think, for whatever reason, I think our overall outlook was really result-oriented that day. I think that can wear on you as an everyday player and as a pitcher because baseball is so hard, you fail seven out of 10 times, you’re really good. And I think if you’re really result-oriented that day the day you can go home and get a good night’s rest is if your team wins by 10 and you go 4-for-4 with four home runs and that’s not realistic.

“So instead of looking at the big picture, you show up you do your work, you prepare to beat the other pitcher, you prepare defensively and over the course of the year it’s a process. You’re going to have your 0-for-10s, your 0-for-15s, your 0-for-20s but if you prepare the right way and stick to the plan you’re going to be fine and I think that gives your mind ease. If I put in the work it’s going to be right there. And your teammates see you put in the work, they know it’s going to be there so there’s less stress, there’s less, technically, panic. You know if you put the work in and do the right things you’ll be successful. It’ll be there in the end.

“So I think we kind of went away from that and it was more ‘hey what are our results today? We’ve got to do good today,’ Bogey’s got to get four hits today. Mookie’s got to live up to huge expectations instead of being who you are and that’s especially in this environment that’s how you have to be. You have to understand you’re going to be bad and you’re going to be great. So just keep working and stay with what makes you get to that point and you’ll be fine.”

Boston Red Sox

Need A Change In Clubhouse Leadership Philosophy

With David Price still on the roster and a non-stop softness in Betts and Bogaerts, the 2018 Boston Red Sox might be done before they even start. The reason for this line of thinking is you need to be tough in playoff baseball, which Boston has struggled mightily to find success in each of the past two seasons despite winning the AL East in both of those seasons.

All this being said the 2018 team still has plenty of time to make changes and write their own story under new manager Alex Cora. And Pedroia is certainly going to be apart of a leadership change in Boston with the longest-tenured Red Sox player trying to find new ways to lead the team better.

“I’ve thought a lot about this you know and I’m thinking, man, you know, you guys write all these stories about how we don’t have enough leadership and all this stuff. I’m like, thinking about it, I’m like, when did the Red Sox start getting successful you know from 2002 or whatever on? You know they had Tek. But not only did they have Tek, but they had David, they had Trot Nixon, they had Johnny Damon. There was a ton of core players that were leaders. And then you look at the next championship they won, they had David, Tek, Mike Lowell, Alex Cora. There’s multiple leaders. And then ’13, you know there’s multiple leaders.

“So I think our core group, it’s my responsibility. I need them and they need me and we all have to work together. Because it’s not one leader. And everybody always says that, it’s not one guy in baseball. It’s me, it’s Mookie, it’s Bogey, it’s Jackie it’s Benny. It’s our team. So we have to go be together and know that. I know David’s gone but you know when Tek was done we were OK. Because he built that into David, and David’s built that into me to where I got to do a better job of finding a way to get everybody to realize that it’s not one guy, it’s everybody. And that’s — after thinking about it — that’s what it is. It’s not, you know we need one leader or one guy on the pitching staff and one guy on the — no, we need everybody. And that’s what it takes to win at this level and in this environment, is for everybody to come together and take responsibility and doing it together.”

Mookie Betts

Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts arrives for batting practice before ALDS Game 3 at Fenway Park.

Key Is Young Players Have To Take Leadership Role

Boston can’t rely solely on Pedroia to be their leader though. Some of the young guys reportedly tied their anchors to Price last season and see him as a role model. For the Red Sox that is not a great thing with Price not exactly being a great leader off the field with his blow-ups in the media.

But if Price is a guy they look up to that is fine, but in 2018 the young players like a Bogaerts and a Betts need to take a real leadership role in this team. Question is are they tough enough? This is a question that Pedroia also asks himself.

“I’m not sure. And I’ve told Bogey. I ended up telling him, we had a workout before our playoff series and I was sitting in the cage by myself and I was hurting and he, Bogey comes in, he’s the happiest kid ever. And he said, ‘Hey, what’s wrong?’ I’m like, ‘Man Bogey, I don’t know if I can — I mean I’m going to be fine to play, but I hope they throw it right down the middle, you know what I mean?’ And he goes, ‘Oh man, you’re gonna be fine.’ And I go, ‘Bogey see that’s what I’m talking about. There are some days when I come in and I need you and we all need each other so it’s OK to be that guy, let it come out.’ And I think they’re all at a point now where they understand that and you can see when their personality comes out. You know Mookie’s more vocal. Bogey will be more vocal. Benny’s, he’ll get there, you know what I mean. Second year. But that’s what we need, you know is those guys. It’s their team, you know and we got to do it together.”

At this point in time, this year’s roster is essentially the same as last years. The only true difference is swapping out John Farrell for Cora. So can this roster change on its own accord? If not this season could be one where Boston falls short with the New York Yankees the clear favorite to win the AL East.

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Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox Finally Land Their Guy

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According to multiple reports, the Boston Red Sox have reached an agreement with infielder Eduardo Nunez.

Nunez is set to be the primary second basemen to start the season with Dustin Pedroia still recovering from offseason surgery. After Pedroia returns Nunez will likely serve as the primary backup infielder for the Red Sox with occasional time at the DH spot also a potential route for him.

Nunez was traded to the Red Sox in July from the San Francisco Giants and had an impressive offensive performance in 38 regular-season games for the Sox. But a PCL injury limited him as the season wore down. He did not go for surgery on the knee, choosing instead to rehab, but the visual was bad when he was last on the field when the knee buckled. He had to be carried off the field in the playoffs. But some offseason videos of Nunez working out shows some signs of promises.

Nunez’s deal is pending a physical.

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