Red Sox

Friar: When situation is big, Sox hitters come up small


Friar: When situation is big, Sox hitters come up small

The Red Sox squandered another chance to move into first place when they lost 2-1 Monday in San Diego, their second one-run loss to a last-place team in as many days.

Not something to be expected from a playoff-contender -- a statement that’s become synonymous with the 2016 team.

Monday’s frustrations were a little different than Sunday's, yet they still centered around the offense.
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For starters, the Red Sox were exposed once again as being a team that relies heavily on the bottom of the order. They are one of the few teams to have strong hitters at almost every spot but they lose some of that edge in National League parks, where there's no DH and the pitchers have to bat. So on Monday, when light-hitting catcher Bryan Holaday and pitcher Drew Pomeranz were in the Nos. 8 and 9 positions, the lineup had a distinctly different feel . . . not to mention most veteran pitchers aren't yet intimidated by rookie Yoan Moncada, who was hitting seventh.

In addition, the Sox once again couldn't deliver a big hit in key situations.

Trailing 2-0, Chris Young, pinch-hitting for Holaday, led off the top of the eighth with a home run. The next batter, pinch-hitter Aaron Hill, doubled, giving Boston the tying run in scoring position and the go-ahead run at the plate with no outs.

When Dustin Pedroia advanced Hill to third with an infield groundout, the Sox were poised to tie the game with almost any kind of contact. Not just a hit, but even a groundball or a fly ball. 

But they didn't get it. Sandy Leon, pinch-hitting for Brock Holt, struck out. So did the next hitter, Xander Bogaerts. Hill was stranded at third and the Sox wound up losing by that 2-1 score.

As much as Red Sox hitters preach making solid contact every at-bat, that was a scenario where they simly needed to put the ball in play . . . and they didn't. One could argue Monday’s eighth inning was more frustrating than the bases-loaded struggles Boston’s had all year,  given there wasn’t a double-play threat.

“On days where we’ve come up a run short, there’s opportunities throughout the course of a ballgame that can change the storyline,” Farrell said after the loss.

And he couldn’t be more right.

The Red Sox lead all of baseball with 499 extra-base hits, but are 7-39 when they score four runs or less.

Further proof that they’re a team that slugs it out, but doesn’t play small ball.
Nick Friar can be followed on Twitter @ngfriar



John Farrell joins ESPN’s ‘Baseball Tonight’ as analyst

File Photo

John Farrell joins ESPN’s ‘Baseball Tonight’ as analyst

John Farrell can add another job to his resume.

The former Boston Red Sox manager has joined the crew for ESPN's "Baseball Tonight," according to The Boston Globe. His debut will be on Wednesday for a season-preview show.

The Red Sox fired Farrell on Oct. 11, 2017 despite a second-straight A.L. East crown. Alex Cora will begin his first season in Farrell's old role during the 2018 season.

Farrell added the broadcast work after the Cincinnati Reds hired him as a scout and adviser with a focus on pitching. He interviewed this offseason for the Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals managing jobs, but both teams passed on him.


Red Sox minor league team invites Trump, Biden to settle it in ring

File photos

Red Sox minor league team invites Trump, Biden to settle it in ring

In this corner, the challenger out of Scranton, Pa., Joltin' Joe Biden...In the other corner, straight out of Queens, the President of the United States, Dandy Donald J. Trump!

The venue: LeLacheur Park, Lowell, Mass., home of the Red Sox Class-A affiliate, the Lowell Spinners.

Ladies and gentlemen, it's The Slasher at LeLacheur!

After the former Vice-President told a crowd at the University of Miami earlier this week of the current President, "If we were in high school, I'd take him behind the gym and beat the hell out of him, President Trump fired back on Twitter Thursday morning. 

The Spinners, the Sox' short-season New York-Penn League affiliate, have offered to host a boxing match between the Republican President and Democratic former Vice President on Aug. 17 by the flagpole at LeLacheur. Former light-welterweight champ and Lowell native Micky Ward has agreed to referee.

No word yet if Trump, who'll be 72 by then, or Biden, 75, have accepted the invitation.

The Spinners' press release announcing the invitation says that if the two do accept, "the boxing match will take place regardless of the weather, no matter how stormy it may get."