Red Sox

Astros' Alex Bregman reflects on Andrew Benintendi's game-saving catch in Game 4 of ALCS

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Astros' Alex Bregman reflects on Andrew Benintendi's game-saving catch in Game 4 of ALCS

Alex Bregman hasn't forgotten about Andrew Benintendi's game-saving diving catch in Game 4 of last year's American League Championship Series.

With the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning, Benintendi robbed Bregman of a hit that would have at least tied the game up for Houston. It was a crucial play that ultimately led to the Red Sox defeating the Astros in five games to advance to the World Series.

Five months later, Bregman described his mindset when he stepped up to the plate in the crucial situation to face Sox closer Craig Kimbrel.

“Well, I faced [Kimbrel] in Game 2 with the same opportunity to tie the game if I hit a homer,” Bregman told Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports. “and I was thinking a little bit like, more of, I wasn’t thinking as much on top of the baseball. And I flew out to the warning track. I just hit it too high. So I tried to overcorrect that and hit a line drive there just to score the run.”

The rest is history. Benintendi came up with the play of the year, the Astros later were sent packing, and the Red Sox eventually became 2018 World Series champions. Bregman says he's rewatched the play, and had nothing but nice things to say about Boston's left fielder.

“I rewatched it a few times,” Bregman said. “Off the bat I thought it was down. And Benintendi made an unbelievable play. And he’s an unbelievable baseball player. We played against each other in college and then now in the big leagues. It’s been amazing to watch his career and now I root for him.”

Bregman enjoyed a stellar 2018 season, but the Astros third baseman admits Benintendi's grab has driven him to be even better in 2019.

“A hundred percent [driven by the catch],” Bregman said. “But, at the same time, you just add little pieces to the fire as you go. And when you’re on your 15th set in the weight room and you’re like, ‘I don’t want to do this anymore,’ you think about, ‘Do one more and that ball will fall.’”

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Jason Varitek's strikeout call as umpire in Red Sox scrimmage is fantastic

Jason Varitek's strikeout call as umpire in Red Sox scrimmage is fantastic

Jason Varitek may have found a new calling in calling batters out.

The former Red Sox catcher, whose official title with Boston is "Special Assistant/Catching Coach," moonlighted as the home-plate umpire in the team's intrasquad scrimmage Thursday at Fenway Park.

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But Varitek didn't just half-heartedly call balls and strikeouts. Nope, he was committed to the bit, dressing up in full umpire attire to stand behind the plate.

Oh, and his strikeout call was a thing of beauty:

Leslie Nielsen would be proud.

Varitek didn't go all-out for all of his strikeout calls, but he didn't hesitate to punch out Red Sox stars like J.D. Martinez.

Varitek got to know major league umpires very well during his 15-year playing career in Boston, so if anyone on the Red Sox' staff is qualified for this job, it's him.

Thursday marked the Sox' first simulated game action since they opened Training Camp at the beginning of the month. They're set to begin the shortened 2020 season July 24 with a home series against the Baltimore Orioles.

Red Sox schedule 2021: Dates, opponents for 162-game season revealed

Red Sox schedule 2021: Dates, opponents for 162-game season revealed

Major League Baseball is looking ahead to (hopefully) brighter days.

The Red Sox don't begin their coronavirus-shortened 2020 season until July 24, but that didn't stop Boston and the rest of the league from unveiling their full schedules for the 2021 MLB season Thursday.

Here's the Red Sox' full 2021 schedule, which at the moment includes 162 games.

Boston will open the 2021 season against the Baltimore Orioles on April 1, 2021, at Fenway Park and play its first nine games against American League East opponents.

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The Red Sox' 2021 schedule also includes interleague matchups with the National League East, who they'll see plenty of this summer during their 60-game campaign.

The Sox don't face the New York Yankees until June 4 at Yankee Stadium but will play a total of 14 games against their archrival between June and July.

With COVID-19 still hitting the United States hard, it's much too early to tell if the 2021 season will start on time or if fans will be allowed at games. But at the very least, the league has a schedule in place should things drastically improve over the next seven months.