Red Sox

Crazy similarities between Red Sox exits of Mookie Betts, Babe Ruth

Crazy similarities between Red Sox exits of Mookie Betts, Babe Ruth

It's been a long time since the Boston Red Sox traded a player as talented as Mookie Betts in the prime of his career.

Betts is arguably the second-best player in Major League Baseball. In just six seasons, he's won a World Series, an American League MVP award, four Gold Glove awards, three Silver Slugger awards and an AL batting title. But with free agency looming for the 27-year-old centerfielder, the Red Sox traded him to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night as part of a three-team deal that also included the Minnesota Twins. 

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The Red Sox have traded away some really good players in their 119-year history, but few have been more accomplished than Betts at the time of their departure. A comparable situation would be when the Red Sox traded center fielder Fred Lynn to the California Angels in 1981.

Another similar scenario was the sale of Babe Ruth to the rival New York Yankees. In fact, some of the similarities between Betts and Ruth toward the end of their careers in Boston are pretty interesting, as BostonSportsInf pointed out on Twitter.

Here's another stat that shows how impactful Betts and Ruth were for the Red Sox.

Crazy coincidences or the start of a new decades-long curse during which the Red Sox reach the World Series a few times only to come up short in the most painful way possible?

In all seriousness, it's very likely the former.

The Yankees capitalized on their trade for Ruth and won four World Series titles during his time in New York. We all know how the Red Sox fared over that span and for the years following Ruth's departure. The Dodgers probably would be content if they won just one championship with Betts, and the National League club might only get one shot because he's eligible to become an unrestricted free agent following the 2020 season. Los Angeles hasn't won the World Series since 1988, although it came pretty close in 2017 and 2018.

Tomase: History will view Betts trade favorably

How two missing setup men have created a cascade of woe for Red Sox

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USA TODAY Sports photos

How two missing setup men have created a cascade of woe for Red Sox

For two rookies who weren't on anyone's radar until about this time last year, Darwinzon Hernandez and Josh Taylor have turned out to be massive losses for the Red Sox.

The two young power left-handers stabilized the bullpen over the final two months of 2019, with Hernandez striking out batters at a record rate and Taylor emerging as an every-other-day workhorse.

Hernandez struck out a staggering 57 in just 30.1 innings (16.9 K/9), with a 4.45 ERA. In 23 appearances from July 16 through Sept. 6, he posted a 2.31 ERA. Taylor, meanwhile, was even more consistent. He delivered a 3.04 ERA in 57 appearances, and from July 2 through the finale, allowed only eight runs in 40 innings.

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Both feature 95-mph fastballs and both figured to play expanded roles in this truncated season, but when spring training 2.0 began in July, both were missing because of failed COVID tests. Taylor quarantined in his hotel near Fenway Park while battling fatigue. Hernandez remained in his native Venezuela for the first three weeks of July.

They're both now in Pawtucket, facing hitters for the first time in months. Each threw live BP over the weekend, and Taylor could be activated this week, manager Ron Roenicke said on Friday in New York.

The trickle-down effect has been significant. Roenicke has had little answer for innings two through five, relying on lesser arms like Austin Brice, Zack Godley, Matt Hall, and Jeffrey Springs either to serve as openers or bridge the gap to more established relievers like Marcus Walden, Heath Hembree, Matt Barnes, and closer Brandon Workman.

As a result, on the days Nathan Eovaldi doesn't start, the Red Sox have finished the fifth inning trailing by an average score of 5-2.

A healthy Hernandez and Taylor could alter that dynamic in two ways. First, one of them could start and contribute as an opener. Roenicke said the Red Sox are stretching out Hernandez to throw two or three innings, which would make him a more dynamic candidate for the role than some of the flotsam the Red Sox have been forced to feature in his absence.

But even if both remained relievers, they'd either be available to throw in the early innings instead of Springs (33.75 ERA) or Hall (15.43 ERA), or they could bump someone like Walden or Hembree down there. Ten games into the season, too many games have already been lost before Roenicke could even warm his better relievers.

With the lack of legitimate starting pitchers forcing Roenicke to finesse his way through four out of every five games, the Red Sox can ill afford to enter battle without their full complement of weapons. Who knew that two guys we had barely heard of early last season would end up being such pivotal missing pieces?

Yankees' Aaron Judge set an MLB record during huge series vs. Red Sox

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USA TODAY Sports

Yankees' Aaron Judge set an MLB record during huge series vs. Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox just got swept by their nemesis, but hey, at least they were part of history.

The Red Sox fell 9-7 to the Yankees on Sunday night after New York slugger Aaron Judge belted a go-ahead, two run home run off Matt Barnes in the eighth inning.

The blast actually was Judge's second of the game and fourth in the three-game Red Sox-Yankees series alone. What's even more impressive (unless you're a Sox fan) is that all four of Judge's homers vs. Boston gave New York the lead.

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Judge also hit a go-ahead long ball against the Baltimore Orioles last Thursday, which means his second dinger Sunday set a Major League Baseball record.

Oh, and Judge also has an MLB-leading six home runs in eight games, tied with Alex Rodriguez for the most in Yankees franchise history through the first eight contests of the season.

Judge has done most of his damage this season against the Red Sox' inept pitching staff, using Ryan Weber, Zack Godley, Matt Hall and Barnes as launching pads during his historic start.

If Sox fans want a silver lining, at least Boston actually had a couple leads before Judge intervened. That's been a rare occurrence during the Red Sox' 3-7 start, which has them in the American League basement with one sixth of their season gone by.