Some thoughts on this past weekend’s Red Sox-Yankees series right after this home run lands…
- The Yankees took two out of three to hand the Sox their first series loss since April 21st. Boston is now 18-13, so despite what was a frustrating series in the Big Apple, this has been a relatively good stretch.
- Speaking of frustrating, Friday night’s 3-2 loss was tough to watch. Rick Porcello kept rolling with yet another quality quality start (7 IP, 3 ER, 5 Ks), but the offense never really got going (outside of a David Ortiz two-run tater in the first) until the final frame. The Sox loaded the bases with three singles, bringing up Ortiz with one out. That’s when all hell broke lose:
- Look, plenty has been said about this already, so I’m sure I have a similar take to everyone else. That third strike was low. Papi shouldn’t have shown up the umpire on the 3-1 pitch that crossed up Brian McCann, and umpire Ron Culpa, instead of being an oversensitive SOB, shouldn’t have called a ball a strike out of spite. It was totally unprofessional. Of course, while that pitch was a ball, it was close enough to go either way, and if you’re Ortiz you have to be protecting there. Lots of people were claiming (and still claiming) that Culpa lost the Sox the game, but Ortiz should have been guarding the zone. Not to mention Hanley Ramirez was up next and promptly struck out on four pitches to end the game. Did that Ortiz at-bat suck, and was Culpa being a really crappy umpire? Absolutely. But that didn’t cost the Red Sox the game.
- Something is up with David Price. He gave up six runs in 4.2 innings on Saturday afternoon, his velocity was down, and he struggled to hit his spots. In other words, it was like just about every other one of his starts. Having said that, let’s not jump off of the Tobin/Zakim/Sagamore Bridge just yet. A couple good(ish) things: First, Price’s BABIP and strand rate are completely out of whack. This season teams are hitting .373 on ball in play vs. Price (his career mark is .288), and only leaving 54.2% percent of their base runners on the bases (his career mark is 74.3%). In other words, Price has had lots of bad “luck” as far as the sequencing of his hits have gone. That probably won’t continue. His FIP is 2.94, right in line with his 3.05 posting from 2010-2015 in that category. That four-run discrepancy between his ERA and FIP will not continue, I can promise you that. Dustin Pedroia, loving baseball more than I love breathing to the point where he did Carl Willis’ job for him, allegedly found a kink in Price’s delivery in his spare time (Barstool Sports’ Jared Carrabis has the gifs here), which may explain why Boston’s ace has lost 2 mph off his fastball this season and has battled location issues. Price’s altered leg kick, especially out of the stretch, might explain these numbers:
- Lee went further in depth on that Twitter rant, and posted a really good breakdown here.
- More good news: Steven Wright continues to ball out. He’s currently third in the AL in ERA after mowing down the Yankees last night. If Price can get his crap together, and if Eduardo Rodriguez can hit the ground running after he wraps up his rehab stints, suddenly a Price/E-Rod/Porcello/Wright quartet doesn’t look so bad.
- Ortiz is currently on pace for a 47 HR, 141 RBI, .308/.393/.673 season. He has four homers in his last five games. He is 40 years old.
- Last thing: Mookie Betts is down to .248/.295/.401 after going 2-11 this weekend. He’s hit .195 over his last 10 games, with only one extra base hit. Part of that is that he’s not being rewarded for swinging at bad pitches: Last season he made contact on 71.8% of pitches swung at out side the zone, while this year he’s only making contact 60.3% of the time. The Red Sox need him to either be more disciplined or to start making better contact, because a lead-off hitter with a sub-.300 OBP is not going to work.
Up next: Three games at Fenway against the 14-18 Athletics, starting tonight at 7:10 p.m.