Red Sox

First impressions: Smart baserunning and power hitting for Red Sox in 7-2 win


First impressions: Smart baserunning and power hitting for Red Sox in 7-2 win

First impressions from the Red Sox' 7-2 win over the San Diego Padres:


* It was only one inning, but Koji Uehara's return to the mound was encouraging.

Uehara hadn't pitched since July 19, sidelined with a pectoral muscle, and for a time, it wasn't a sure thing that Uehara would pitch again this season.

But Uehara was activated from the DL Monday and made his return to action Wednesday night.

Uehara faced three hitters and retired them in order -- the first two by strikeout and the third on a routine flyout.

The inning featured vintage Uehara - which is to say that he threw an 87-88 mph fastball and got hitters to chase his split-finger fastball. The fastball isn't going to overpower anyone, but mixed with the split, it's enough to keep hitters off balance.

Uehara's deception helps make the fastball more powerful than the radar gun would suggest. If Uehara can have similar effectiveness going forward, he can have a real impact in the last three weeks.


* The Sox used some smart baserunning for the second straight night.

On Tuesday, Mookie Betts took an extra base in the fifth inning when right fielder Oswaldo Arcia lost focus and seemed unsure where to throw the ball back into the infield.

On Wednesday, the Sox took advantage of another instance in which the Padres were apparently asleep.

In the fourth inning, with Chris Young at second and Travis Shaw on first, the Padres weren't holding either baserunner on and reliever Carlos Villanueva indifferent to the runners, both Young and Shaw took off and each was credited with a stolen base, going in standing up.

That aggressive play then paid off when Dustin Pedroia, a batter later, slammed a double into the left field corner, scoring both runners.


* In September, the Red Sox have discovered the appeal of the pinch-hit homer.

Through the first 136 games of the season, the Red Sox had no pinch-hit homers.

In a sense, that's not a huge surprise, since, given the strength of the everyday lineup, they don't have to pinch-hit much. Contrast that to a National League team like the St. Louis Cardinals, who have hit 20 pinch-hit homers this year.

Then, twice in the last three games, the Sox snapped the drought. On Labor Day, Chris Young homered in the ninth inning to cut the Padres 2-0 lead in half. Then, on Wednesday, with fans at Petco Park clamoring for David Ortiz in the ninth inning, Brock Holt went up in the pitcher's spot and he, too, drilled a pinch-hit homer.

That's two in three days after none in the first five months.


As expected, it's Sale, Price and Porcello to start Sox season

As expected, it's Sale, Price and Porcello to start Sox season

New Red Sox manager Alex Cora has announced that, as expected, left-hander Chris Sale will be the Opening Day starter when the Red Sox begin their season nine days from now against the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg, Fla. David Price will pitch the second game and Rick Porcello the third. 

Cora told reporters in Fort Myers, Fla. that Eduardo Rodriguez would be in the fourth starter's spot if he's ready as he continues to recover from off-season knee surgery and left-hander Brian Johnson is preparing to be the fifth starter for now.

In Price's second Grapefruit League start on Tuesday, he pitched five innings and allowed two runs on three hits, walked one and struck out four in the Red Sox' 12-6 victory over the Pirates. Third baseman Rafael Devers, hitting .349 this spring, hit his third home run of the spring. Andrew Benintendi (.405) had a double and two RBI and first baseman Sam Travis drove in three. 

Sale had a much rougher outing Monday, giving up four runs on five hits, with three walks and six strikeouts in five innings against the Phillies. 



Red Sox, Yankees working to play in London in 2019

Red Sox, Yankees working to play in London in 2019

Mookie Betts and Aaron Judge are about to go global.

Red Sox CEO Sam Kennedy on Monday confirmed the Sox are interested to play the Yankees in London during next year's regular season. Bloomberg reported the clubs are nearing an agreement to play two games there in June 2019. Discussions are indeed taking place, but a deal is not done.

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“We would love to participate in a series in London against the Yankees but this is a decision that MLB and the MLBPA will make," Sox CEO Sam Kennedy said.

Bloomberg reported the games would be played at London Stadium, which was the main facility for the 2012 summer Olympics.

MLB has not played any games in Europe before. The Red Sox have made trips before, including to Japan before the 2008 season.