With a series victory within their grasp, the Red Sox took the field behind starter Joe Kelly on Sunday afternoon. After breezing through an easy first inning of work, Boston’s 27 year old starter ran into some trouble in the second and gave Kansas City an early four run advantage. Kelly allowed back-to-back singles to lead off the second inning, then surrendered a long three-run home run to Royal’s first baseman Eric Hosmer. The next two batters followed with a pair of singles, and a run later came around to score on an RBI fielders choice. The next inning Boston quickly began to chip away at Kansas City’s lead, as Xander Bogaerts blasted a change-up into the left field bullpen for a three-run home run. While both Joe Kelly and Jason Vargas endured speed bumps, both starters managed to keep the opposition at bay following the early activity. Vargas only lasted until the sixth, after back-to-back singles sent the veteran to an early exit. Pitching in relief of Vargas, Aaron Crow walked the first batter he faced to load the bases with two outs. A batter later, Daniel Nava deposited the first pitch he saw over the right field fence for a grand slam that gave the Red Sox a 7-4 lead. Four of Boston’s relievers then held off the Royals offense for the remaining four innings, and helped secure the series victory for the Red Sox.
- Unlike their parent team, the Pawtucket Red Sox crept closer to a championship on Saturday as they took home the Governors Cup for the second time in the last three years. Boston’s triple-A affiliate defeated the Durham Bulls by a final score of 4-1. Rusney Castillo helped the PawSox lock up the International League title, after he went 2-for-4 at the plate with 2 doubles and an a pair of RBI. (Couch pitches PawSox to Governors Cup title)
- For some young pitchers, discovering their niche in the major leagues is half the battle. Take former Red Sox lefty Andrew Miller and current Royals reliever Wade Davis for example. Both were highly regarded starting pitching prospects as they rose through the minor league ranks. However, both faltered upon joining the major leagues. Now, Miller and Davis have been transformed from shoddy starter, to dominant reliever. Their success could provide an outline that Boston may need to follow for some of their young arms. (Like K.C.’s Wade Davis, Boston might look to the bullpen with some young starters)
- While the Red Sox were unable to find any success on the field this season, Boston’s farm teams have been dominating at all levels. This season, Boston has been represented on five different minor league playoff stages, ranging from triple-A to rookie ball. Of course, winning minor league titles won’t make many headlines, but John Farrell believes that cultivating a winning atmosphere is important for the development of young players. (Farm teams’ success gives Sox hope)
- In the widest scope of the trade market, virtually no player is truly untouchable, but it would certainly take a lot for Boston to deal Mookie Betts. After starting the season in double-A, Betts quickly learned how to play center field before breezing though triple-A and joining the Red Sox. Through the first 40 games of his career, the 21-year old looks to be a keeper for Boston, but with a log jammed outfield and Dustin Pedroia at second base, trading the rookie isn’t out of the question. (Has Mookie Betts made himself a trade untouchable?)
- Last week, Red Sox chairman Tom Werner made it known that the Red Sox will be big spenders in the offseason. But don’t dust off your Jon Lester jersey, or customize a Scherzer shirt just yet. According to recent reports, the Red Sox are interested in acquiring one high priced free agent starters, instead of two. (Red Sox in for one, but not two big free agent pitchers)
- Tweet of the weekend: Bold career move.
Daniel Nava should retire now so his career can be bookended by two first pitch grand slams
— Cespedes Family BBQ (@CespedesBBQ) September 14, 2014