With the Red Sox positioned to play spoilers in the American League East at this point of the 2014 season, the team welcomed in the New York Yankees for a three game set over the weekend. On Friday, 24 year old starter Anthony Ranaudo made his major league debut, and lead Boston to a 4-3 victory. Ranaudo, a New Jersey native and childhood Yankees fan, tossed 6 innings of 2 run baseball, yielding just 4 hits, while walking 4. Boston broke a scoreless tie in the 3rd inning on RBI hits from Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz, and won the series opener by a final of 4-3. In game 2 of the series, the Red Sox received a wild and ineffective start from Allen Webster. After Boston jumped out to a 3-run advantage in the 2nd, Webster walked 4 batters and allowed 4 runs to score in the following inning. In total, the 24-year old walked 6 Yankees over his short lived start of 2.2 innings. Boston’s only offense came on a Mike Napoli 2-run home run, a David Ortiz sac fly, and a Christian Vazquez RBI single. Much like Allen Webster on Saturday afternoon, Clay Buchholz was wildly ineffective in his start on Sunday. The Boston starter lasted just 5 innings, but managed to allow 7 runs on 8 hits, while walking 5. Boston’s offense pushed across 7 runs on the night, punctuated by a long home run by David Ortiz and an unexpected blast by Dustin Pedroia. However, Brett Gardner’s 7th inning home run off Craig Breslow wound up being the difference in an 8-7 Yankees win. The Red Sox will take Monday off, and travel to St. Louis to start a 3 game series with the Cardinals on Tuesday.
- Despite Allen Webster’s dreadful start on Saturday afternoon, in which he walked 6 and allowed 4 runs in under 3 innings, John Farrell plans on keeping the right-hander in the rotation for the time being. The Red Sox manager admitted that Webster’s latest start wasn’t a productive one, but pinpointed some mechanical changes that should help the 24-year old get back to where he needs to be. (Allen Webster to remain in the rotation)
- With Mookie Betts hot on his trail, Jackie Bradley must start figuring things out at the plate if he wants to claim the Red Sox center field job going forward. The Red Sox know how good Bradley’s game-changing defense can be, but the 24-year old’s plummeting average and current 0-for-24 slump serves as a reminder of how over-matched he’s looked at the plate. (Center stage: It’s time for Jackie Bradley to perform)
- Jon Lester made his debut with the Oakland Athletics on Saturday against the Kansas City Royals, tossing 6.2 innings while allowing 3 runs on 9 hits. However, Lester wasn’t the only ex-Red Sox helping the Athletics to an eventual win; Nick Punto, Jed Lowrie, Jonny Gomes, and Josh Reddick all collected RBI’s in support of Lester. The southpaw left the mound to a standing ovation from the crowd, and referred to the Athletics as his “new family” in a post-game interview. (Jon Lester wins in A’s debut as Oakland offense wakes up)
- Speaking of Jon Lester, the departing Red Sox ace took out a full-page ad in this weekends Boston Globe to reflect on his time in Boston. In a short paragraph, Lester thanked the city of Boston, Red Sox fans, as well as the front office and ownership. While it isn’t unusual to see full-page letters from departing athletes these days, Lester’s ad is just another example of how well he handled his situation in Boston this season. (Lester thanks fans in full-page ad)
- In a market that was said to be depleted of power-hitters, Ben Cherington shocked the baseball world when he pried Yoenis Cespedes away from the Oakland Athletics in exchange for 2 months of Jon Lester. But with Cespedes set to hit free agency after next season, Boston will need to start thinking about a contract extension for the Cuban outfielder. A potential benchmark that the Red Sox can use when trying to gauge figures on Cespedes, is the deal that Nick Swisher signed in Cleveland two years ago. (The framework of a Yoenis Cespedes extension)
- Tweet of the weekend: Take this for what it’s worth…
A few Red Sox players this morning said they're convinced Jon Lester will re-sign with Boston in the offseason.
— Joe McDonald (@JoeyMacHockey) August 2, 2014