Red Sox

Drellich: Yankees trade for Todd Frazier shows Red Sox limitations

Drellich: Yankees trade for Todd Frazier shows Red Sox limitations

BOSTON -- The Todd Frazier-David Robertson-Tommy Kahnle trade became official at midnight. Two minutes later, Deven Marrero couldn’t get an 11th-inning bunt down on three tries and struck out. 

The Red Sox and Blue Jays trudged into a marathon game from there, one that ended more than an hour later. Hanley Ramirez finally parked one over the Green Monster in the 15th inning for a 5-4 victory over the Blue Jays.

So the Red Sox’ offense did scrape by Tuesday, but just barely. On the same night, the team’s front office was forced to watch as the Yankees launched a surprise attack in the trade market and poked the Red Sox in the eye.

Want that third baseman? You can't have him.

Too often, the Sox look powerless right now. That goes for both the lineup and the man who assembled it, Dave Dombrowski.

There’s nothing Dombrowski could have done to stop the Yankees, to sway Chicago to send Frazier to Boston instead. Or, more accurately, there’s nothing Dombrowski should have done.

The luxury tax threshold is a concern, with little room for the Sox to add. In that sense, they are at the mercy of baseball’s now forced cyclical nature. 

So, to his credit, Dombrowski remained disciplined and didn't pull out all the stops. He’s spoken publicly about the need to hold onto prospects, and he backed that up Tuesday.

But the harsher reality: The Sox have already spent most of their savings. Dombrowski’s already pulled off a blockbuster. More than one. Only two certified gold doubloons remain: Rafael Devers and Jason Groome. 

Sox owner John Henry spoke to Dombrowski in the front office suite during the game, once news of the trade had come out. The conversation could have been run of the mill and coincidental, but the timing was hard to ignore.

Red Sox fans can now enjoy watching Yoan Moncada play in the big leagues for the White Sox -- a team that, after helping the Yankees Tuesday, promoted Moncada to the majors for the first time since the Red Sox dealt him for Chris Sale. 

No one would rightly undo the Sale trade, because he's been amazing. But Moncada’s promotion is simply a reminder of the cost of doing business. The Brewers’ Travis Shaw, and the home run he deposited into the Allegheny River in Pittsburgh on Tuesday, are the same.

Brian Cashman’s Yankees are at a different point in their development cycle than Dombo’s Sox. There’s an excitement in the sheer magnitude of the Frazier trade, in the surprise of seeing the Yankees jump out of the bushes and look once again like, well, the Yankees. 

"Pretty good players, but I believe in our team," Ramirez said of New York's haul. "We’ll just see. We have to keep pushing to the limit.”

An American League East without blockbusters doesn’t feel right, and Cashman slow played this. Do the Sox now need their own move?

"I have no comments," Ramirez said. "It’s not my job. I’ve got to just come back in a couple of hours and win again."

The Yankees are just getting started, really. Cashman has spent time building up the farm system. He has a young core that's to be taken seriously, and has a lineup that’s better than Boston’s and now a bullpen that might be the best in the majors. 

Dombrowski still has time and the ability to improve the Red Sox. The Sale-David Price one-two punch looks second to none. But the offense isn’t going to drastically improve via trade.

Power has been the theme all year for the Red Sox. As the Yanks showed off theirs Tuesday and the Red Sox played 15 innings, what the Sox lack was only underscored -- both on the field and in their wherewithal to improve midseason.

Drellich: These Red Sox can do no wrong

Drellich: These Red Sox can do no wrong

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- We’re not firing on all cylinders yet. The scary thing is, we’re not even playing our best. Just wait until we really get going.

You’ve heard these phrases and their variants before. They’re typically worthless.

RED SOX 9, ANGELS 0

Someone is always performing poorly. Always. That’s life in a sport where the best teams lose 40 percent of the time, where the best hitters fail 7 times out of 10, and all the other cliches.

What may be most remarkable about the Red Sox’ 15-2 run is that for an extended time, we are seeing a baseball team actually bump up against its ceiling. They have four grand slams. There are two major- league teams that have only three wins.

They are actually playing their best.

“It’s very rare,” Alex Cora said Wednesday night, after becoming the first rookie manager in history to begin his career with 15 wins in 17 games. “There’s always something that is not going with the others. But right now, defense, pitching and offense -- base running too. You know, we were aggressive today  [when Eduardo Nunez was thrown out trying to stretch a double] but we’ll take that one. We’re doing better. We’re doing a lot better. And I don’t know, man. It’s just, it’s just fun to watch.

“I know how good they are. But it’s just something about them, they make you feel confident. You show up every day to work, I enjoy it, I’m having a blast with them. Not only in the dugout, but in the clubhouse. It’s fun. It’s fun to be around them. It’s a good group, and we’re growing together, we’re learning together and you know, we’re going to keep getting better."

“All systems go” rarely has more validity as a description for a baseball team than it does the Red Sox at present.

MORE DRELLICH

“I’ve been fortunate to be on some good teams and I’m sure I have [had similar stretches], but not, I don’t think, to this extent, where we’re playing good defense, we’re throwing the ball so well,” said Mitch Moreland, who homered Wednesday night in a 9-0 win over the Angels. “We’re coming up with big hits. Everybody in the clubhouse has done something to help the team win. It might just be because it’s fresh on my mind, but it stands out as good a ball as I think I’ve been a part of in the big leagues.”

Imagine how good a team can be if everyone is healthy and performing well. (By the way, the Sox are missing Xander Bogaerts.) But the best 17-game start in the 118-year history of a franchise has been inclusive of virtually everyone. Even Blake Swihart is getting some at-bats in these blowouts. 

Perhaps the bullpen feels a little left out lately, because the Sox are romping. These are thoroughly dominating performances, led by starting pitching. Rick Porcello -- who we may now more often mention won a Cy Young award two years ago -- has one walk in four starts. He’s 4-0 with a 1.40 ERA.

Rafael Devers, meanwhile, is the youngest Sox player to hit a grand slam since Tony Conigliaro in 1965.

Things will change. They’ll get ugly at some point. For now, though, there’s no waiting to see what a team looks like when everything is actually working. 

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Red Sox continue rolling with 9-0 rout of Angels

Red Sox continue rolling with 9-0 rout of Angels

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Everything is going right for the Boston Red Sox, and it has propelled them to the best start in the franchise's long history.

Rafael Devers hit his first career grand slam, Rick Porcello threw six scoreless innings and the Red Sox improved to 15-1 since losing on opening day with a 9-0 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday night.

Mitch Moreland had four RBI, including a two-run homer in the ninth, and J.D Martinez hit a solo shot in the seventh to help the Red Sox to their sixth consecutive win.

The Red Sox are the fifth team since the American League was established in 1901 to post at least 14 wins in their first 17 games.

"We've had a pretty good run at it here, pretty much the whole season so far," Moreland said. "It seems like one through nine, everybody is kind of stepping up. Obviously, been throwing the ball really well on the mound. Just playing a real complete game, a clean game right now."

Devers hit a home run for the second game in a row, putting his third of the season off the wall in right field just over the yellow line to make it 6-0 after Moreland singled to score Mookie Betts.

After getting out of a bases-loaded jam in the first, Porcello (4-0) cruised to his league-leading fourth win. He gave up six hits and struck out six without issuing a walk.

The Red Sox took a 1-0 lead in the first. Hanley Ramirez doubled to center, with the ball landing just past a leaping Mike Trout, and Moreland drove him in with a single to right.

"Our offense is really setting the tone right now and doing an incredible job. I mean, they are doing a great job of getting on their starter early," Porcello said. "The runs they are putting up, we're just going out there and attacking the strike zone and get outs and chew up as much of the game as possible."

Tyler Skaggs (2-1) gave up six runs and eight hits in 4 1/3 innings for the Angels, who have lost two straight following a seven-game winning streak.

The Angels have been outscored 19-1 through the first two games of the series.

"You're going to run into some waves like this where it just doesn't seem like you're putting things together, but we're a much better offensive team than in the last couple of years," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Red Sox: SS Xander Bogaerts (ankle) took ground balls during batting practice, but manager Alex Cora said "there's no rush" to bring him back. . RHP Steven Wright (knee) will start at Triple-A Pawtucket on Friday. . LHP Bobby Poyner (hamstring) will be sent out on a rehab assignment soon, with weather likely determining where he will go.

Angels: Shohei Ohtani is expected to make his next start after being limited to two innings Tuesday because of a blister on the middle finger of his right hand. Ohtani will be available to hit against the Red Sox on Thursday. . RHP JC Ramirez underwent surgery to repair a torn UCL on Tuesday.

CALIFORNIA SUN

The Red Sox have not been good in the Pacific Time Zone, posting a .438 win percentage (89-114) when playing on the West Coast over the previous 16 seasons. After not winning a series at the Angels, Oakland or Seattle last season, they already have one under their belt.

AT HOME ON THE ROAD

Devers extended his road hitting streak to 12 games dating back to Sept. 18, 2017, and it was his fourth homer in that span. He has a hit in 19 of his last 21 road games going back to last season.

UP NEXT

Red Sox: LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (1-0, 3.72) gave up one run in six innings against Baltimore on Friday. Rodriguez's only career start at Angel Stadium was a brief one, giving up seven runs in 1 2/3 innings in 2015.

Angels: RHP Nick Tropeano (1-0, 0.00) held Kansas City scoreless in 6 2/3 innings to get the win Thursday. Tropeano has never faced the Red Sox.

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