On a clear and chilly September night in Boston, the Red Sox and Rays began their final series of the 2014 season. Starters Clay Buchholz and Alex Cobb held the line for their respective clubs for most of the game, with both starters pitching into the 7th inning. After Buchholz and Cobb exchanged clean innings through the first 3.5 frames, Boston finally jumped on the scoreboard in the fourth after Daniel Nava roped an RBI double to left center field. Pitching with a slim one run margin, Buchholz was tossed three straight clean innings following Nava’s fourth inning RBI. However, in the eighth inning, the wheels began to come off for the 30-year old. With two runners on and two outs, the right-hander surrendered back-to-back RBI hits to Ben Zobrist and David DeJesus, which gave Tampa Bay a 3-1 lead. Buchholz then left the game, and gave way to southpaw Tommy Layne, who inherited a first and second mess. On the second pitch of his outing, Layne made matters worse by uncorking a wild pitch and pushing the runners to second and third. The lefty then allowed a ringing single to first baseman James Loney to score two more runs. All 5 runs in the Rays half of the seventh were charged to Buchholz, who finished the night with a deceiving 5 earned runs on 8 hits. While the Red Sox went on to add their second run in the bottom of the eighth inning on a Jamile Weeks sacrifice fly, Tampa Bay matched it with a Matt Joyce home run in the top of the ninth. Buchholz’ one bad inning loomed large in Tuesday’s game, as the Red Sox lost the opener by a final of 6-2.
- Dustin Pedroia’s future with the Red Sox was suddenly thrust into conversation after his latest injury required him to miss the remainder of the 2014 campaign. A vocal leader both on and off the field, the 30-year old’s mounting injury history and declining numbers abruptly forced some to question the validity of the 10 year, $100M deal the second baseman currently holds. But it’s Pedroia’s determination, leadership, and talent that makes him a valuable piece for Boston going forward. (It’s time to understand the importance of Dustin Pedroia)
- A day after two Red Sox front office executives were named to the MLB’s Pace of Play committee, Sox manager John Farrell chimed in about his feelings on game length. Unlike his higher ups, who seem focused on altering an aspect of the game, Boston’s second year manager offered an easy fix that wouldn’t compromise the sanctity of the game. Shortening the time between innings, such as commercial breaks, could be a nice compromise between baseball purists and new school folks. (Farrell: Time between innings could be shortened)
- Enjoy the “space” while you’ve got it, because Fenway Park is about to get even more crammed than it already is. According to a recent report, the Red Sox are waiting for approval from the Boston Landmark Commission to add more bleacher seats, and a corner suite on the third base side. All together the 102 year old ballpark will house 160 new seats, and will most likely see more standing room only sections. (Red Sox to shoehorn 160 new seats into Fenway)
- While the players will return home or go on vacation in the next two weeks, the Red Sox front office is set to roll up their sleeves and get to work on fixing Boston’s roster. Heading into the winter, the Red Sox need to acquire at least one top of the rotation arm, while possibly adressing the second rotation spot as well. While most of Boston’s line-up is set in stone, the team will need to figure out what to do with their glut of outfielders, and could examine acquiring a left-handed bat. (Projecting the Red Sox’ 2015 Opening Day roster)
- A little under 2 months have gone by since the Red Sox gutted their roster at the trade deadline. That late July day saw the team depart with almost all their starting pitching, as well as some valuable role players. In return, Boston received some established major league talent, while also cashing in on some promising prospects. Now that we’ve had time to watch these trades pan out, how well did Ben Cherington truly do on July 31st? (Regarding the Red Sox’ surprising trade deadline deals two months later)
- Tweet of the day: No Re2pect, you guys!!!