Red Sox

Andrew Cashner won't make a difference for Red Sox if Chris Sale continues looking lost

Andrew Cashner won't make a difference for Red Sox if Chris Sale continues looking lost

The Red Sox finally addressed their fifth starter problem on Saturday by acquiring Andrew Cashner from the Orioles, but it's not going to mean anything if he keeps out-pitching Chris Sale.

Cashner is about the best the Red Sox could've expected amidst an ownership mandate not to blast the payroll any further out of the water. The big right-hander is producing one of the best seasons of his 10-year career after somehow going 9-3 for the woeful O's with a 3.83 ERA in 17 starts. The Red Sox say a move away from his sinker in favor of a fastball-slider-changeup arsenal has made all the difference for a pitcher who went 4-15 with a 5.29 ERA last year.

That's all well and good -- Trader Dave Dombrowski aggressively strikes again! -- but he and the Red Sox are effectively helpless to address what is turning out to be the *real* issue of 2019, and that is Sale.

The erstwhile ace once again had little choice but to publicly berate himself following an 11-2 pasting at the hands of the Dodgers on Saturday night. Following an outstanding start from Eduardo Rodriguez in Friday's series-opening 8-1 victory, Sale halted 24 hours of momentum by failing to complete five innings.

His velocity, which started in the upper-90s, was back down to April's 92-93 mph by the middle frames, leaving us to ask, yet again, what the hell is happening to the left-hander with the $150 million extension that doesn't even kick in until next year?

"It's the same old stuff," a frustrated Sale told reporters. "Just not getting it done. Just making bad pitches. Not keeping the ball in the yard, not getting shutdown innings when I need to. Just the same stuff as before.

"I'm going out there every fifth day and getting my ass kicked, what do you think? It's not fun. I'm still working, I'm still grinding. I'm not going to give up, but it's tough going out there every day being a liability for your team."

That Sale is as clear-eyed about his predicament as anyone doesn't make it any better. He hasn't won a start at Fenway Park in more than a year and the Red Sox are twice as likely to lose when he takes the mound (6-13 in his 19 starts) as win. He's 3-9 with a 4.27 ERA, and that pretty accurately sums up how he has pitched, especially considering what's expected of him.

The Orioles have only won 28 games all season, and they still managed to go 11-6 in Cashner's 17 starts. Were Sale producing at even that level, the Red Sox would comfortably lead the wild card race and reside within shouting distance of the division-leading Yankees.

Instead, they're nine games out of first and if the season ended today, wouldn't even be in the playoffs. They not only trail the Rays and A's in the wild card race, they're looking up at the Indians and are only a half game ahead of the Rangers, too.

Is Andrew Cashner going to fix that? The Red Sox acquired him to reinforce the back of the rotation, but maybe that's actually Chris Sale's job at this point. Maybe Cashner belongs closer to the top of the rotation.

If that's the case, say goodbye to this season.

"I wanted to come out firing, wanted to come out and get off on the right foot, especially after a big win (Friday) night," Sale said. "Eddie shoved and we swung the bat well, we played a great game last night. Had some momentum. Even leading into the break we had some momentum. Wasn't able to get it done, yet again."

Dombrowski: Sox may stand pat after trading for Cashner>>>

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Curt Schilling on Hall of Fame: 'If I'm outside the Hall of Fame with Luis Tiant, I'm all right'

Curt Schilling on Hall of Fame: 'If I'm outside the Hall of Fame with Luis Tiant, I'm all right'

Curt Schilling is in his eighth year of eligibility for the Baseball Hall of Fame. Is this the year that he'll finally get in?

The former pitcher spent 20 years in the major leagues with the Baltimore Orioles, Houston Astros, Philadelphia Phillies, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Boston Red Sox. He went 216-146 record, a 3.46 ERA, and 3,116 strikeouts (good for 15th most all-time) in his storied career. 

It's his postseason dominance (11-2, 2.23 ERA) that elevates Schilling's Hall candidacy. He's a three-time World Series winner, two of which came with the Red Sox, was a co-Series MVP with Randy Johnson in 2001 with the Diamondbacks and was named an All-Star six times.

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Despite his numbers, Schilling hasn't gotten into the Hall yet. While he may be inching closer to making the cut, he isn't counting on getting in with the 2020 class.

"I don't think I'm going to make it this year," Schilling told MLB Network's Bob Costas in a recent interview. "The trend has usually been that players will drop a certain amount of percentage between the public and the private ballots. And I don't think I'm high enough above that 75 [percent needed for election] for the tail-off not to get me."

Though Schilling doesn't think he'll get in, he's not worrying about it too much. And he's focusing on the fact that there are plenty of great players who never made the Hall of Fame, including another former Red Sox ace.

"There are also some pretty good people who aren't in the Hall of Fame," Schilling said. "If I'm outside the Hall of Fame with Luis Tiant, I'm all right."

Schilling does have a good point. There are plenty of great, deserving players that haven't made the cut for the Hall of Fame. He still has three more chances to get in, so perhaps his time will come.

And speaking of Tiant, there surely is a case for him to be a Hall of Famer. He went 229-172 with a 3.30 ERA in a 19-year career and also struck out 2,416 batters. Had the Red Sox gotten him a ring in 1975, perhaps he would've had a stronger case to get in.

Red Sox add LHP Matt Hall via trade with Tigers, designate Travis Lakins for assignment

Red Sox add LHP Matt Hall via trade with Tigers, designate Travis Lakins for assignment

The Boston Red Sox made their second trade of the week Friday.

The Sox acquired left-handed reliever Matt Hall from the Detroit Tigers in exchange for minor league catcher Jhon Nunez.

Hall appeared in 21 games for the Tigers the past two seasons. He was 0-1 with a 9.48 ERA, 32 strikeouts, 18 walks and a 2.07 WHIP in 31 1/3 innings in that span. Hall made his major league debut for Detroit in 2018.

To make room for Hall on the team's 40-man roster, the team designated right-handed pitcher Travis Lakins for assignment, per Jen McCaffrey of The Athletic.

Lakins, 25, made his major league debut in 2019 and logged 16 appearances for the Red Sox. He went 0-1 with a 3.86 ERA, 18 strikeouts, 10 walks and a 1.41 WHIP in 23 1/3 innings of work.

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On Wednesday, the Red Sox traded first baseman/outfielder Sam Travis to the Texas Rangers in exchange for left-handed reliever Jeffrey Springs, while also designating lefty pitcher Bobby Poyner for assignment.