The Red Sox defeated the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim over the weekend, and claimed their first series win since sweeping the Kansas City Royals in late July. Allen Webster took the mound for the Red Sox on Friday, and was much better than he was in his previous start against the Yankees, in which he walked 6 batters. The 24-year old held the Angels bats to just 4 hits and 2 runs, while allowing just 2 walks and tallying 3 punchouts. Boston’s big offensive inning came in the 3rd, when Dustin Pedroia singled in a run, and Yoenis Cespedes drove in 2 more on a double to left field. Mike Napoli added the Red Sox fourth run with a solo shot in the 5th, and the Red Sox bullpen put the finishing touches on a 4-2 win. On Saturday, the Red Sox and Angels played 19 innings before Alber Pujol’s home run over the right field fence secured the win for LA. Unlike his last couple times out, Clay Buchholz was solid for Boston, tossing 8 innings of 6 hit, 3 run baseball. In the 14th, with the score knotted at 3, the Red Sox jumped out to a 4-3 advantage on a David Ortiz sacrifice fly. But the Angels were quick to respond, grabbing a single run of their own in the bottom of the frame on a fielders choice by Mike Trout. Five innings later, Albert Pujols, who was just 1 for his last 8, grooved a Brandon Workman offering over the wall for a walk-off home run. In the rubber match of the series, both Hector Santiago and Rubby De La Rosa were on top of their game. For Boston, De La Rosa tossed 7 innings of 5 hit, 1 run baseball, while striking out 8 and walking just 3. The game remained scoreless until the 8th inning, when Yoenis Cespedes hit a 3-run blast to left field, which proved to be the difference in a 3-1 Red Sox win.
- Yoenis Cespedes alone won’t carry the Red Sox batting order, but he’ll certainly provide his fair share of offense going forward. With just 8 games under his belt as a member of the Red Sox, the hulking Cuban defector has shown glimpses of speed, power, and defense that make him one of the best assets in the game. (What we should make of Yoenis Cespedes)
- Similar to the Red Sox, the St. Louis Cardinals are rapidly learning that infusing young talent with a veteran core is easier said than done. While the Red Sox have watched Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley struggle all season, the Cardinals have seen their young pitchers and position players regress as well. (Despite rocky transition, neither Red Sox nor Cardinals abandoning focus on youth)
- At this point in Jackie Bradley’s rookie campaign, one would expect the 23 year old’s confidence to be shaken. However, Bradley has remained positive despite posting a slash of .211/.281/.289 on the season, and currently riding an 0-for-35 streak at the plate. Defensively, Bradley is one of the best — if not the best — in the game, but his ability to adapt to major league pitching will be what makes or breaks the rookie. (Jackie Bradley Jr full of confidence despite hitting slump)
- When the Red Sox resigned Stephen Drew in the middle of the season, Xander Bogaerts was understandably frustrated with the situation he was in. A native shortstop, the 21 year old had struggled defensively in the early stages of his first major league season, and the Red Sox thought that he would benefit from a move to third base. However, Bogaerts offense took a nose dive upon moving to the hot corner, and his once promising rookie campaign looked like a season to forget. Now with Stephen Drew traded to New York, Bogaerts has returned to his native position and has looked a lot more comfortable both in the field and at the plate. (Rookie Xander Bogaerts is relaxed after shift back to shortstop)
- In a lost season, Rubby De La Rosa’s continued success on the mound is something Red Sox fans can take comfort in as the 2015 season draws nearer. Instead of trying to blow away every batter with his mid-to-upper 90’s heat, De La Rosa has toned down his fastball to the low 90’s, and save the gas for the right situation. Additionally, the 25-year old has reigned in his control, resulting in improved strikeout-to-walk ratio’s from one game to another. (Rubby De La Rosa dominating, maturing into a reliable starter for Red Sox)
- Tweet of the weekend: He’s not a Molina brother, in case you forgot…