The Red Sox continued their series with the Houston Astros over the weekend, and wound up splitting the 4 game set at 2 games a side. After picking up a 9-4 victory on Thursday, Boston dropped a 10 inning bout with Houston the following night. Clay Buchholz was solid over 7 innings of work, allowing just 2 runs on 7 hits while striking out 9. The Red Sox only offense came courtesy of Yoenis Cespedes’ 4th inning 2-run home run, as well as a 7th inning RBI single by Brock Holt. The Red Sox held a 3-2 lead heading into the 8th inning, but a bizarre play at the plate allowed Houston to knot the score at 3. The game remained tied until Jason Marisnick collected a 2 RBI double, which proved to be the difference in 5-3 Astros win. David Ortiz stole the spotlight during Saturday night’s game, as the hulking designated hitter collected 6 RBI on the strength of 2 home runs and an RBI double. Daniel Nava also enjoyed a 3-hit night, which included a pair of RBI base hits. After Red Sox starter Rubby De La Rosa was roughed up over just 4 innings of work, Boston’s bullpen tossed 5 innings of 3 hit, 1 run baseball. Newly recalled reliever Alex Wilson was Saturday night’s bullpen standout, as the right-hander tossed 2.1 no-hit frames. Oddly enough, the only Red Sox reliever to allow a run was Koji Uehara, but the Red Sox were able to hold on by a final of 10-7. In the fourth and final game of the series, Joe Kelly was roughed up in his Fenway Park debut. After enjoying a clean first inning, Kelly surrendered 6 runs in the 2nd inning, including a 2-out grand slam by Jose Altuve. The Red Sox offense couldn’t seem to get any momentum against Astros starter Collin McHugh, who held Boston to just one run on 7 hits over 6 innings of work. Houston earned the series split with a crushing 8-1 victory.
- A controversial play in Sunday afternoon’s game helped set the stage for Jose Altuve’s second inning grand slam. With 1 out in the inning, Astros infielder Marwin Gonzalez hit what looked to be a tailor made double play ball to Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts. However, after fielding the grounder cleanly, Bogaerts didn’t touch second base before throwing the ball to first. The ruling on the field was a double play, but the Astros challenged the call and managed to get the umpires ruling overturned. Red Sox manager John Farrell believed that the “neighborhood play” should have upheld the original call. (There goes the neighborhood: Key play in Red Sox loss explained)
- After a slow start to the season and a demotion to triple-A, Daniel Nava has played a lot better since rejoining the Red Sox in late May. At the plate, Nava raised his average from .130 to .266, while also emerging as one of the games best defensive outfielders, according to Defensive Runs Saved. However, with Allen Craig set to return from the disabled list as early as this week, Daniel Nava’s future with the Red Sox looks foggy. (With Craig on the way back, Nava future in question)
- Free agent Rusney Castillo is expected to sign at some point this week, and the Red Sox are believed to be big players on the Cuban defector. Boston, however, isn’t the only team in pursuit of the 27-year old, as numerous clubs have offers out for Castillo’s services. While the Red Sox could use Castillo’s offense and speed, Boston’s current outfield alignment would need to undergo serious changes if the team pulls in Castillo. (Red Sox awaiting decision of Cuban defector Rusney Castillo)
- Xander Bogaerts hasn’t looked like the 21-year old superstar that most scouts and baseball scribes said he was destine to become during the offseason, but that doesn’t mean the clock has run out on the shortstop. Like other great players throughout baseball history, Bogaerts is going through a natural growing pains that come with breaking into the league. Want my opinion? It’s probably best to stay on the Xander Bogaerts bandwagon. (Xander Bogaerts, Cal Ripken Jr., and the modern value of hoarding ancient information)
- With his two home run performance on Saturday night, David Ortiz became the third player in Red Sox history to amass 400 home runs while in Boston. Ortiz joined Red Sox greats like Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski in the rare feat and further cemented his legacy in Boston. Looking ahead to his next milestone, Ortiz is now just 41 home runs away from 500 in his career. (David Ortiz humbled to join Car Yaztrzemski, Ted Williams in Red Sox history)
- Tweet of the weekend: Yoenis Cespedes’ home run left Fenway fast…very fast.