Red Sox

Moreland lifts Red Sox over White Sox in 11th inning, 3-2

red_sox_mitch_moreland_080417.jpg

Moreland lifts Red Sox over White Sox in 11th inning, 3-2

BOSTON -- The Boston Red Sox are tough to beat in extra innings. Tough at home, too.

Mitch Moreland homered with two outs in the 11th inning, lifting the Red Sox to a 3-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Friday night.

"It would be a lot more fun to win them in nine I think, but as long as we're getting the win I think we'll take it," Moreland said. "It's always fun to do that and carry a little momentum into the next day."

Moreland, a defensive replacement in the 10th, drove a pitch from Aaron Bummer over the Green Monster for his 14th of the season. It was the second game-ending homer this week for the Red Sox, who improved to 10-3 in extra innings.

"We've been there so much that you try to find ways not to put pressure on yourself. It probably makes it a little bit easier," Moreland said.

Bummer (0-2) was one strike away from pushing the game to the 12th, but left a slider over the plate and a little up in the zone for Moreland.

"It could have been a better pitch - it definitely should have been a better pitch and he got it," Bummer said. "I wanted to bury it, especially with two strikes. I just left it out over the plate. Easy pitch for him to track and go the other way with."

The AL East-leading Red Sox earned their fourth consecutive victory and moved three games ahead of the second-place Yankees, who lost 7-2 at Cleveland. They also improved to 34-20 at Fenway Park.

Carlos Rodon matched a career high with 11 strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings for Chicago, which has dropped four straight and nine of 11. The White Sox were 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position and left 10 on base.

Eduardo Nunez hit a tying solo homer for Boston in the sixth, and Heath Hembree (2-3) got three outs for the win.

Boston had only one hit before opening the fifth with three straight singles. Chris Young drove in Rafael Devers with a single to left, and the Red Sox loaded the bases with one out when Jackie Bradley Jr. reached on an infield hit.

Rodon then got Mookie Betts to bounce into a fielder's choice and struck out Andrew Benintendi to end the inning.

Chicago struck first on Nicky Delmonico's two-run double with two runs in the fourth. It was the first career double for Delmonico, who hit his first homer Thursday night.

Eduardo Rodriguez pitched six innings for Boston. He allowed four hits and struck out five on a season-high 118 pitches.

BIG THROW

Christian Vazquez, who hit a three-run homer in the ninth inning of Tuesday's 12-10 victory against the Indians, helped preserve the tie in the top of the 11th when he picked off Delmonico at second for the second out. Chicago had runners at first and second with nobody out, but failed to score.

FENWAY FIRST

Rodon was pitching for the first time at Fenway and said it was a thrill, despite the outcome. Rodon's emotions showed after some of the more crucial outs when he could be seen yelling from the mound, which he said was to keep him focused on doing what had been working so well.

"I don't want to show up those guys over there. That's a great team. Hopefully I didn't offend anybody," Rodon said. "It's something special. There's a lot of history here. We've got a lot of young guys, so it's something that we all got to experience together."

TRAINER'S ROOM

White Sox: OF Avisail Garcia (right thumb ligament strain) took batting practice and could return to the lineup without going through a rehab assignment, manager Rick Renteria said.

Red Sox: 2B Dustin Pedroia (left knee inflammation) started light workouts and could return from the 10-day DL on Tuesday against Tampa Bay. ... LHP David Price (left elbow inflammation) did not throw Friday because of soreness. Price has been on the DL since July 25. ... 1B Hanley Ramirez was replaced by Moreland. Manager John Farrell said Ramirez had some stiffness in his left oblique and will be evaluated Saturday.

UP NEXT

White Sox: RHP James Shields (2-3, 6.19 ERA) struggled in his last start, allowing six runs and eight hits in six innings Monday against Toronto.

Red Sox: LHP Drew Pomeranz (10-4, 3.46 ERA) didn't figure in the decision Sunday when he held Kansas City to one run in 6 2/3 innings.

Red Sox can be thankful for a successful past and a bright future

Red Sox can be thankful for a successful past and a bright future

For the glass-is-half-full folks, there are those back-to-back Eastern Division titles. For the glass-is-half-empty folks, well, there are those two first-round playoff ousters (though both their conquerers made it to the World Series, and one of them won it). But, here on Thanksgiving night, there's plenty for Red Sox Nation to be thankful for, starting with . . . 


YOUR GOOD HEALTH

We know you don’t need the Red Sox to know you how important the most basic elements of life are. But sometimes, the typical fantasy land of baseball can grab our attention. The death of 17-year-old Sox prospect Daniel Flores (above) this month from complications because of cancer didn’t take away only a potentially great baseball career. It took away a beloved, hard-working young person from the people who loved him. He had just made millions of dollars in July for his talent on the field, but what does such a windfall matter compared to one’s health? His cancer was both rare and fast-moving, per the Boston Globe.

MOOKIE, JACKIE, XANDER, BENINTENDI, DEVERS

The kids deserve some love. They probably won’t be together on the Red Sox forever. Heck, the group could get broken up this winter. But while any of the Killer B’s (plus a D) remain on the Sox, there should be a sense of optimism. Two straight 93-win seasons may have resulted in a first-round exit, and 2017 didn’t meet expectations for some individual performances. But you know what? The youths are still damn good, and there’s time for them to show us they can be even better.

INSANELY GOOD PITCHERS IN CHRIS SALE AND CRAIG KIMBREL

Neither hogs the spotlight once the game ends or says too much. Sale doesn’t even have Twitter. But the righty closer and lefty starter both do two things exceedingly well: make batters swing and miss, and prevent runs. When both pitch, your seat at the park may well be worth the price of admission. (But we won’t ask what you paid for those seats.) Sale didn’t take down Pedro Martinez’s Sox single-season strikeout record this year, finishing with five fewer than Martinez’s 313 in 1999. But he could have done it. And with a little more rest next year, one can envision him plowing his way through playoff opponents too.

ALEX CORA'S NEW DIRECTION

A first-time manager’s not a sure thing, but as Sox owner John Henry noted, there was a feeling it was time for a change. It’s a little early to be thinking ahead to a New Year’s resolution, but a manager who better connects with his players and brings a different vibe to the day-to-day scene is reason to feel the Sox are following the right road map. Plus, if nothing else, Cora took that awesome picture walking toward Fenway.

A CHRISTMAS SHOPPING SPREE MAY BE AROUND THE CORNER

We don’t want to be too materialistic. But Uncle Dave Dombrowski couldn’t let you buy everything you wanted last year. The credit card companies needed him to step back for a year. Now he’s ready to spend. He might not close down Bloomingdale’s for the day for you to do your private shopping, but if you need a couple great jackets to complete your look, it sounds like he’s ready to get you some designer threads. He probably feels there won’t be too many chances to have a moment like this with you, at this stage of your life, and he wants to make the most of it.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

 

Why the Red Sox should sign not one but two relievers

pat-neshek-mike-minor-112217.jpg

Why the Red Sox should sign not one but two relievers

BOSTON — There is a world outside of Giancarlo Stanton. 

Stanton, at this point, simply doesn’t appear likely to end up in Boston. That should feel obvious to those following along, and so should this: it can change. 

But there are other pursuits. Besides their search for a bat or two, the Red Sox have been actively pursuing left-handed relief options. Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski is a fast mover, but this year’s market has not been.

MORE RED SOX:

Robbie Ross Jr. and Fernando Abad are both free agents, leaving Robby Scott as the lone incumbent southpaw from last season's primary group. Brian Johnson is bound for the pen, with Roenis Elias as a depth option too.  Still, even if Johnson’s transition pans out, the Sox still have an opening for a late-inning reliever with the departure of free agent Addison Reed. 

Reed is a righty, but between Matt Barnes, Joe Kelly, Heath Hembree, Carson Smith, and Craig Kimbrel, the Sox have more right-handed choices than left. Coming back from surgery, Tyler Thornburg, should be in the mix eventually too, but it's difficult to expect too much from him.

What the Red Sox should do: sign one of each for the bullpen, one righty, and one lefty. And then trade a righty or two. Turn some of that mishmash into an addition elsewhere. Be creative. 

Because inevitably, come midseason, the Sox will want to add another bullpen arm if they sign just one now. Why wait until you have to give up prospect capital when you can just add the piece you want now?

Go get a near-sure thing such as Pat Neshek, a veteran who walks no one and still strikeouts a bunch. At 37 with an outgoing personality, Neshek also brings leadership to a team that is looking for some. He walked just six guys in 62 innings last season. Entering his 12th season in the majors, he’s looking for his first ring.

All these top of the market relievers may be handsomely paid. But relievers are still something of a bargain compared to position players and starting pitchers. One of the key words for this winter should be creativity. If there’s value to be had in the reliever market, capitalize on it. 

Comeback kid Mike Minor, Jake McGee and Tony Watson headline the crop of free agent lefties available. Brad Hand of the Padres could also be had by trade but his market isn’t moving too quickly (and he won’t come cheaply).

Minor, 29, who posted a 2.55 ERA in 2017 after health issues kept him out of the majors in 2015-16, is expected to be paid handsomely. He is also open to the idea of potentially starting if a team is interested in him doing so. The Royals reportedly could give him that shot.

McGee’s American League East experience could be appealing.

He's 31 and had a 3.61 ERA with the Rockies in 2017 and has a 3.15 ERA lifetime. He’s not quite the strikeout pitcher he was earlier in his career — he had an 11.6 K/9 in 2015 — but a 9.1 K/9 is still very strong, particularly when coupled with just 0.6 homers allowed per nine.

For what it’s worth: McGee has also dominated the Red Sox, who have a .125 average, .190 on-base percentage and .192 slugging against him in 117 regular-season plate appearances. 

McGee throws a mid-90s fastball with a low-80s slider. He can operate up in the zone, and he actually has been even more effective against righties than lefties in his career, including in 2017. McGee’s been a closer, too, with 44 career saves.

The Sox had the second-best bullpen in the majors by ERA in 2017, at 3.07. Yet, come the postseason, there wasn’t a sense of great confidence or even a clear shape to the pecking order behind one of the absolute best relievers in the game, Kimbrel.