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Red Sox Closer Kimbrel Continues to Closeout Close Games

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Red Sox Closer Kimbrel Continues to Closeout Close Games

It was a summery night [Tuesday] at Busch Stadium.  The St. Louis Cardinals were playing well.  They kept the game against the Red Sox close with 3 lead changes.  The bats were luke warm but in the end it all came down to pitching.  Red Sox Starter Eduardo Rodriguez was pitching.  He had a good night on the mound, striking out 5 as he pitched into the 6th.  He gave up only 3 Runs, an RBI Double, a Fly Ball, and a Sac Fly.  All of which happened in the bottom of the 3rd Inning.  He had the Red Sox bats to help him out, for the win, though.  He also had Ace Closer Craig Kimbrel to close the game out for him.

In the 1st, right out of the gate Mookie Betts went deep.  It was his 7th Home Run of the Season and it tied the Sox record of most Home Runs by a lead off batter at 10, tying Jacoby Ellsbury.  Jackie Bradly Jr. went yard with a solo pop in the 2nd Inning making it [2-0].  St. Louis took the lead in the 3rd making it a [3-2] ballgame.  In the 5th Betts tied it with an infield grounder [3-3].  Dustin Pedroia then hit a line drive RBI Single, giving the Sox the lead at [4-3].  They would keep that lead and tac on a few more Runs in the 8th making it [6-3].

Robby Scott pitched well and Heath Hembree pitched well as they made it to the 9th Inning.  Craig Kimbrel came in and went to work.  He got the first two batters to Fly Out.  He was throwing heat as the Radar Gun read 99 MPH.  He struck out the 3rd batter that he faced with high heat.  This guy just pitches at an incredible velocity.  He had the game won and recorded his 12th Save of the year.  He was just dialed into the Strike Zone as he has been all Season long.  His streak of 22 punch outs continues.  E-Rod got the win as the Red Sox pitching was top notch [6-3].

I'm a self published writer and illustrator. I follow Football, Baseball, Hockey, Basketball, some Golf and some eSports.

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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Boston Red Sox

Battle of the Eras: Chris Sale V. Pedro Martinez

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Boston Red Sox

This season, MLB batters have hit more home runs than they have hit in any other season. Ever. Yes, that’s including the steroid-era.

On Wednesday night, Red Sox ace, Chris Sale became the first AL pitcher to record 300 K’s in a season, since Pedro Martinez in 1999 (the climax of juicing in the MLB). To call what Sale has done in 2017 “impressive” would be an egregious understatement. It’s downright spectacular.

Both of these hall of fame caliber arms dominated their respective “eras”. But who had the rougher go of it? And can we definitively say that one pitcher is better than the other?

Before we continue, I have to admit that Pedro Martinez is 100% my favorite pitcher of all time. Without a doubt. When I was 8 years old, my favorite shirt to wear was a men’s XL “t-shirt jersey” of his. I was a big-boned kid. Anyways…

For Pedro, it was the varicose-veined behemoths like Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, and Sammy Sosa, that he had to overpower. Where Chris Sale is now facing the equivocal adversity of the “juiced-ball era”: Power-hitting is ubiquitous; exit velocity is invariably up. And I’m sorry, but until the MLB comes out and coherently denounces this slang-like colloquialism, that’s what we’re rolling with: The baseball is juiced. Chris Sale has pitched and is currently pitching, in an “era” that favors hitters. One that is not at all dissimilar to the steroid-era that Pedro triumphed in, over a decade ago.

Tearing the Cover Off of the Ball

So let’s chronologically define these eras in question, to make comparisons fair, even though we’re dealing with the incomparable.

Concerning Pedro Martinez’s performance, we’ll say that the 1999 and 2000 seasons combined were the pinnacles of his era. And for Chris Sale, we’ll look at 2016 through 2017, as the superlative years so far, of the juiced-ball era.

From 1999-2000, the average for home runs hit per game (HRPG) was 1.16. This was when batters were going through anabolic steroids and HGH faster than they were going through Gatorade. From 2016-2017 thus far, the HRPG is currently at 1.21. This disparity is a symptom of the juiced-ball era. Or maybe all of the hitters in the MLB were invited to a symposium, where they were taught how to hit more homers… Probably not.

So how do these two greats of the game compare?

Bringing It

Let’s start with the elder of the two: Pedro Martinez. From 1999-2000, he was an indomitable force on the mound. For starters, he went 41-10 in the win-loss column. If that’s not godly enough for you, he had a professionally manicured ERA of 1.90. How Pedro, how? In 430.1 innings pitched, he racked up 597 K’s with a clean WHIP of .830. Yeah, I’d say that’s pretty solid.

But bear in mind, the steroid-era HRPG hardly compares to the unparalleled HRPG of Chris Sale’s contemporary juiced-ball era. Sale is pitching against the objectively more difficult phenomena, of the two.

With presumably 1 start left in the 2017 season, Chris Sale, through 2016-2017, has a record of 34-17 (.667 W-L%). That’s a helluva winning-percentage, considering that he pitched for the terrible Chicago White Sox for the majority of that span. Over the past 2 years in question, his ERA is presently at 3.06 and his WHIP is at 1.001. Sale has 533 K’s in that stretch, which is comprised of 436 total innings pitched.

Again, like Pedro, these numbers illustrate a transcendent talent.

The Eye Test

When it comes to Red Sox baseball, it’s almost sacrilegious to compare any pitcher to Pedro Martinez. He is kind of like our Paul Pierce: He gave us a piggyback-ride during the worst of times. But as the media and the statisticians have so tenaciously pointed out, Chris Sale is having a Pedro-like season for the Sox. So who’s better?

The fact of the matter is, one could make a reasonable argument for both sides.

Pedro Martinez faced chemically amplified power-hitters, in the steroid-era. Chris Sale is throwing a baseball that is ambiguously “loaded” in the favor of any hitter, during the juiced-ball era. One’s a lefty; one’s a righty. Yeah, yeah the list goes on.

Memory is the ultimate discerner. Sale has impressed us, but his impression will be crystallized by his performance in the playoffs. Also note that this iteration of the Boston Red Sox, that he is pitching for in 2017, is relatively more formidable than the one that Pedro pitched for.

Yet again, stats are stats; achievements are achievements. Both of these pitchers have achieved greatness, despite facing historically challenging odds. When it comes to concrete veneration: Writers and Cooperstown brass will be the ultimate deciders.

For now, Boston should relish the performance of their current, and for the foreseeable future, ace Chris Sale. He’s had himself a year. But as all greats will tell you, the “next” victory is always their favorite victory. We should all rest easy, knowing that Chris Sale will be toeing the rubber in game 1 of the 2017 postseason for the Sox. As his numbers show, this guy has what it takes to win. 

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Boston Red Sox

Boston Sports Teams Will Play Anti-Racism PSA

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Boston. Home of the American Revolution and a city of people that have always stood up and fought for the rights of the American Citizen. Boston has always been a forerunner and if you recall an article I wrote a few months back, Boston’s major sports teams have always shown the true American Spirit.

This month, all five major Boston sports teams are making a true American stand against Racism.

After two reported racial incidents occurred at Fenway Park in May, All five major sports franchises in Boston are coming together with a public service announcement entitled “Take the Lead” against racism, reports the Boston Globe.

The Patriots, Celtics, Bruins, Red Sox, and Revolution have made a PSA video that features both white and black athletes asking fans to oppose racial behavior at sports venues. The video will first air at Fenway Park Sept 28. All five clubs will then play the PSA at their respective stadiums.

The two incidents that sparked this decision? Adam Jones, an Orioles centerfielder, stated that a fan spat out the n-word towards him and then the very next night a fan got banned for life for using a racial slur to another fan when a Kenyan woman sang the national anthem.

And just last week, a banner was hung on Fenway’s Green Monster that read: “Racism is as American as baseball.” The protesters were ejected but they were not banned.

Red Sox CEO Sam Kennedy told the Boston Globe,

“When the incidents in May occurred, one of the first things we recognized was sports teams are high-profile, and we have the opportunity to help lead a high-level discussion around this “We wanted to take the lead in taking a stand against racism.”

People’s behavior’s may or may not change, however, there can never be enough messages that condemn this type of behavior. It’s a message we all need to hear and be mindful of.

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