James Shields

Ranking the Top 10 biggest brawls in Red Sox history

Ranking the Top 10 biggest brawls in Red Sox history

The 2020 MLB season is already going to look different.

Teams will only play 60 games instead of 162. There likely won't be any fans in the stands. The National League will use a DH. Extra innings will start with a runner on second base.

But thanks to the realities of the coronavirus and the need to stay socially distanced, we're unlikely to see one staple of the baseball season: bench-clearing brawls.

Get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App

Tempers often rise along with the temperatures, and when the bad blood boils and pitches start flying high and tight (or sometimes behind) batters, teams mix it up and start throwing punches.

That doesn't mean we can't look back at some of our favorites, however. The Red Sox have been no strangers to fisticuffs over the years, from Billy Martin jumping Jimmy Piersall in a tunnel before a game in 1952 to Machine Gun Joe Kelly beckoning Tyler Austin to join him on the mound in 2018.

This list was originally going to be top five, but there were too many memorable options and no shortage of worthy candidates the ended up on the cutting room floor -- David Ortiz vs. the Orioles' Kevin Gregg was a good one, for instance. So enjoy this list and don't be surprised when a number of entries are accompanied by a jolt of adrenaline.

Click here for the gallery of the Top 10 Red Sox brawls of all-time.

Keuchel? Bartolo? Available pitchers if Red Sox decide to boost rotation

USA TODAY Sports Photos

Keuchel? Bartolo? Available pitchers if Red Sox decide to boost rotation

With the Red Sox handing the ball to Josh Smith on Monday and Hector Velazquez on Tuesday, it's fair to say their rotation isn't ideally situated while Nathan Eovaldi and David Price recover from elbow injuries.

Eovaldi is expected to remain sidelined until early June following surgery to remove loose bodies. Price is on the 10-day injured list with tendinitis and doesn't expect to miss more than two starts, although a lot can obviously happen in 10 days.

In the short term, the Red Sox can survive, although they probably won't thrive. But if either of these injuries becomes a longer-term issue, where might they turn?

A handful of recognizable free agent pitchers remain unsigned. The Red Sox would need to be desperate to consider any of them, but at least they're available. Here are a few.

The biggest name on the list is former Astros Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel. We've already laid out why he'd be a bad fit for Boston, and he's understandably not interested in being anyone's short-term fix. He just told Yahoo Sports that he simply wants to be paid what he's worth, and he's willing to wait until he gets it.

If he does accept a one-year deal, it won't be until after the June 5 draft, when he'll no longer cost a team a compensatory pick. Don't be surprised if the Yankees make a move on Keuchel next month.

Next up is James Shields. Big Game James, as he was known in Tampa, hasn't been a particularly effective big leaguer in about five years, but he's working out for teams and was recently scouted by the Tigers, Indians, and Rangers, according to MLB.com.

Shields led the AL in losses last year with Chicago (16) while posting a 4.53 ERA, but did manage to top 200 innings for the 10th time since 2007. He's also familiar with the American League East, having spent the first seven years of his career here.

If you're looking to take a trip in the way-back machine, may we suggest Bartolo Colon! The former Red Sox (among many others) right-hander turns 46 this month and is coming off a 7-12, 5.78 season with the Rangers, but he declared last September that he intended to pitch again in 2019, and one assumes he wouldn't need much time to get into his version of game shape. There has been nothing out of his camp all spring, however, about him actually angling to return.

(Fun fact: On this date three years ago, at age 42, Colon launched the first and only home run of his career. The pitcher who surrendered it? Shields.)

Another possibility would've been the well-traveled Edwin Jackson, but he signed a minor-league deal with the A's in April and should make his 2019 debut this month.

Others remaining unsigned include former Orioles All-Star Chris Tillman, who went 1-5 with a 10.46 ERA in seven starts last year, or former Brewers All-Star Yovani Gallardo, who posted 8-8, 6.39 numbers between Cincinnati and Texas last year.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

Thursday’s Red Sox-White Sox lineups: Shaw out, Hanley stays at seventh


Thursday’s Red Sox-White Sox lineups: Shaw out, Hanley stays at seventh

Travis Shaw, still bothered after fouling a ball off his shin two nights ago, is out of the lineup and Hanley Ramirez remains batting seventh as the Red Sox look to salvage one game from their four-game series with the Chicago White Sox this afternoon at Fenway Park. 

Marco Hernandez starts in place of Shaw at third base. Rick Porcello (8-2, 3.76 ERA) is on the mound for the Red Sox and the White Sox counter with recently acquired James Shields (2-9, 6.28 ERA combined with Padres and White Sox), who has struggled in his three starts since coming to Chicago (21.81 ERA in three starts).

The Red Sox dropped their third in a row to the White Sox, 8-6 on Wednesday night. 

The lineups: 

Tim Anderson SS
Adam Eaton RF
Jose Abreu 1B 
Melky Cabrera LF
Todd Frazier 3B
Brett Lawrie 2B
Alex Avila C
Avisail Garcia DH
J.B. Shuck CF

James Shields RHP

Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Chris Young LF
Jackie Bradley Jr CF
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Christian Vazquez C
Marco Hernandez 3B

Rick Porcello RHP