It's been an interesting weekend and beginning of this week for the Boston Red Sox. Dropping two of three to the Yankees. Dempster's "Bean Heard Round The World" on A-Rod. Picking up a big Monday night win in San Fran after traveling across the country. (By the way, Lester was fantastic in that start and hopefully that continues!) Then last night, losing in San Fran on a literal "walk-off" walking in a batter with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth.
Let's dive in.
The Red Sox lost two of the three to the Yankees in the Fenway over the weekend. By the way, it's the third straight series Boston has had a losing record (1-3 in KC, 1-2 in Toronto, 1-2 vs. NY). Not a great trend as they head into the final month of the season in a pennant race with possibly four teams.
Ryan Dempster clearly had an agenda Sunday night. It took four pitches, which is bad in itself, but on that fourth pitch he beaned Alex Rodriguez. Everyone's got an opinion on whether it was right, wrong or whatever. For me, I look to the players and managers across the league. In an era where literally everything these players say is recorded, there hasn't been one story of a player or manager condemning Dempster and backing up Alex Rodriguez outside of New York. Clearly, Alex Rodriguez is not a well liked guy. I'm speculating but it probably has less to do with the steroid use and more to do with him giving up names of other players involved.
Is it strange to me that message came from the fifth pitcher in the Red Sox rotation who probably will go to the bullpen when Buchholz returns weeks after A-Rod returned to the Yankees line-up? Absolutely. Should Ryan Dempster be suspended? Absolutely and probably for more than five games which would be fine by me as he's been less than good this season. Also, there may be a subtle message in the "light suspension" by Major League Baseball as well. All that aside, I was much more bothered by Dempster's performance after that pitch which, by the way, included a home run to A-Rod and resulted in a loss.
Last night was a tough night for two players making their Red Sox debuts. Phenom prospect Xander Bogaerts went 0-for-3 at the plate while reliever Brayan Villarreal walked in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth. The big story here is not so much the performance but why Villarreal was in there in the first place. The bullpen was rested after Lester pitched into the eighth Monday night. Tough spot for any pitcher let alone one who has yet to pitch in a Red Sox uniform. A head scratching decision by John Farrell to say the least.
With that loss last night the Red Sox are now tied with Tampa Bay for first place in the AL East. On top of that, the O's are 5.5 back and the Yanks are 6.5. There are 36 games left. We've seen this team continue to bounce back and have a "short term memory" after tough losses. Let's hope that trend continues.