Red Sox

Moreland pitches scoreless ninth inning for Red Sox

red_sox_mitch_moreland_pitching_082517.jpg

Moreland pitches scoreless ninth inning for Red Sox

BOSTON — Even Rick Porcello, who had an abysmal night, could joke about the first baseman throwing low 90s heat in a scoreless ninth inning.

Mitch Moreland might have a second career as a lefty specialist. He topped out above 92 mph Saturday night at Fenway Park.

“Yeah, he should've started the game tonight,” said Porcello, the Red Sox starter in a 16-3 loss to the Orioles. “I put him in a tough situation. Mitch is playing first base, going out there every day. To put him on the mound like that, I take responsibility for that because I was the one that got us in that spot. It was nice to see him put up a zero.”

Even if Moreland didn’t let on too much, he surely enjoyed it from a personal level. Position players always do. 

Moreland worked around two hits in the ninth.

The southpaw had pitched once before, with the Rangers in 2014. He faced three batters and retired all three on 15 pitches.But Friday brought his first strikeout, of Caleb Joseph, who was the first hitter he faced. Joseph waved at a fastball. 

Moreland said all the fastballs he threw were two-seamers, save for one cutter. He threw 14 pitches, 10 strikes, and also mixed in curveballs.

“Skip just came up to me and asked if I could pick us up a little and I said sure,” Moreland said. “Hadn’t done it in a while but I was happy to go out there and try it out.”

Moreland pitched in college at Mississippi State, going 5-0 with a 3.31 ERA in 32 2/3 innings in relief.

Red Sox react to Yankees' Stanton trade with...something

Red Sox react to Yankees' Stanton trade with...something

OK, so it's not exactly Varitek's catcher's mitt in A-Rod's face.

The Red Sox reacted to the Yankees' acquisition of Giancarlo Stanton today with a tweet that was...well, it was something.

That'll show your rival whose new middle of the lineup outhomered your entire team - 169 for Didi Gregorius (25), Stanton (59), Aaron Judge (52) and Gary Sanchez (33) to Boston's 168.  

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Of course, the last time a team that led the league in home runs acquired the major league leader in home runs was 1919, when a pitcher/outfielder who's probably still better than Shohei Ohtani went from Boston to New York.

We can look forward to more fiery tweets from the Sox as the Winter Meetings begin - and their search for a power bat intensifies - in Orlando on Sunday. 

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Here's the real problem for the Red Sox with the Giancarlo Stanton trade

Here's the real problem for the Red Sox with the Giancarlo Stanton trade

It may appear Dealer Dave Dombrowski, the man whose career has been built on the mega-deal and star power, was just beat at his own game. But it's not the Giancarlo Stanton trade that will deliver the potential knockout from Brian Cashman, if the trade with the Marlins is indeed finalized.

The desicive blow was cumulative, in all the moves that led up to a point where Dombrowski is tiring and Cashman has enough energy to taunt him with a blockbuster.

As Elias pointed out via ESPN, there’s been only one other time when the team with the most home runs added the player with the most home runs: 1919, when the Yankees traded for Babe Ruth. The Red Sox need one thing above all this offseason: home runs. 

They will still acquire some, you can be sure of that.

“I, for one, can't wait to see how Dave responds to this,” one American League scout said Saturday.

There was foreboding schadenfreude laced in those words, a sense that Dombrowski may overreact. That he’ll do something to alleviate a fan base’s disappointment in seeing Stanton join forces with Aaron Judge, but at an unreasonable cost to the Sox in the long term.

You can only make so many restrictive moves: David Price signings, top-prospect trades and the like. Yes, Stanton’s injury risk and salary qualify as a restrictive move. Even if Stanton wanted to come to Boston, it would have been a straining deal to pull off. The Yankees can more easily replace Starlin Castro because of their farm system.

Now, this is not a defense of the Red Sox. On the contrary: It’s a distinction in where the issue lies. 

The problem is not simply the fact the Sox didn't trade for Stanton, but the fact they both needed a player like Stanton and also lacked the reasonable wherewithal to acquire him. Everything that preceded this point made the Stanton deal less feasible for the Sox and more so for the Yankees. That’s the problem.

The amount of flexibility available is directly a product of baseball leadership. Dombrowski was saddled with some bad contracts from Ben Cherington and the previous administration. The fact that the Red Sox feel constraints (at a time they need to add from the outside to improve) while the Yankees can move freely is a reflection of management. If not necessarily bad Sox management of late, then particularly good Yankees management. Cashman deserves a ton of credit.

Over the summer, it was already apparent that the Yankees were in a position of power when it comes to the ability to add to their team. From the trade deadline: 

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. 

There are two elements at play here. 

The Sox have been in their competitive window for longer than the Yankees. Dombrowski, being Dealer Dave, has taken his shots. No one can argue with the immediate success of Craig Kimbrel and Chris Sale either. 

But who used their prospect capital and large-payroll ability more prudently, Cashman or Dombrowski? Which team will now have the longer competitive window?  

The old rivals both are in a window now. The Sox, despite all their expenditures, are not comfortably positioned to repeat as a division winner.

“I think there’s windows of opportunity because it’s very tough to keep everybody together or hungry or healthy,” Cashman said this spring. “When you have a collection of talent, depending on like how long, how young that talent is, I guess you can keep your window longer. No, I believe in the window stuff. 
 
“You always want to sustain and maintain, but obviously, the way the rules of the game are, the more success — what goes up has to come down, because you’re not getting the high-end draft picks. You’re being penalized for success, which pulls successful teams down, and you’re being rewarded for failure, which is going to catapult people out of the abyss. So, the structure of the game and the rules of the game are designed that make those windows real.”

Cashman has all the elbow grease to keep his window open. Dombrowski is running out.

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