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Saturday, October 20, 2018

Speier:How the Red Sox beat baseball’s best pitching staff

Boston Globe articles appear to be behind a paywall, but the site allows a few free articles. This is a pretty interesting look at what Boston’s scouting turned up, with help from ex-Astros (Cora and bullpen coach Craig Bjornson:

The Red Sox had a feel for how the Astros would attack – helped not just by ample video and heatmap data but also by input from Cora (last year’s Astros bench coach) and bullpen coach Craig Bjornson, who had worked in the same role with Houston in 2017 and thus had a feel for what Houston’s pitchers would try to do in their own advance planning.

...Rafael Devers sat against Justin Verlander in Game 1 (“It’s funny, because I thought it was going to be a bad matchup,” Cora could laugh after Game 5), but given a chance on Thursday, he remained mindful of the report on Verlander: He won’t shy from his fastball in key moments, typically at the top of the zone, where his high spin rate creates ridiculous ride on the pitch that often takes it over bats for either a pop-up or swing-and-miss.

Devers got a first-pitch, 98-m.p.h. fastball at the top of the strike zone and ambushed it. He set his sight at the top of the ball and, rather than trying to pull it, drove it out to the opposite field for the decisive three-run homer in Game 5.

puck Posted: October 20, 2018 at 04:15 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: alcs, houston astros, red sox, scouting

Monday, October 15, 2018

Red Sox exorcise their postseason demons to beat Astros and even ALCS

Sometimes in baseball, you need to throw away the narratives and just see which way the ball bounces.

In Game 2 of the American League Championship Series between the Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox, thanks to some help from the Green Monster and some passed balls from Houston, everything bounced in the direction of the Red Sox.

The big difference? A Jackie Bradley Jr. double that careened off the Green Monster and then pinballed its way to the fence between the field and the stands and started rolling like it was on a golf course. It brought home three runs in the third inning and gave the Red Sox a 5-4 lead that would eventually become a 7-5 win.

Should a team that has won three World Series in the last fifteen years really be talking about “postseason demons” at this point?

QLE Posted: October 15, 2018 at 02:39 PM | 34 comment(s)
  Beats: alcs, red sox

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Astros beat Red Sox to take a wild—in every way—Game 1 of ALCS

BOSTON – On the anniversary of Derek Jeter’s famous flip and David Ortiz’s famous home run that caused Torii Hunter to flip over a fence, no indelible moment seared itself into baseball’s memory Saturday. Instead, Game 1 of the 2018 American League Championship Series was wild in smaller ways, from the pitches to the umpires to the hit-by-pitch that may make an already-interesting series that much more intriguing.

What germinated from it all was a 7-2 victory for the Houston Astros over the Boston Red Sox and the instantaneous thievery of home-field advantage in front of 38,007 at Fenway Park. Even as the Astros didn’t capitalize early on the diminished stuff and inability to find the strike zone by Boston ace Chris Sale, they weathered an uncharacteristic wild inning from their own starter, Justin Verlander, to take the lead in the sixth inning – and then turned on the afterburners in the ninth inning to finish taking advantage of Boston’s troublesome bullpen.

After home plate umpire James Hoye ejected Red Sox manager Alex Cora following an argued called strike three, Houston went to work. Sale was out of the game, having gone four innings. Red Sox reliever Joe Kelly led off the inning by plunking Alex Bregman on a 1-2 pitch after Bregman called a late timeout. Bregman stared down Kelly before catcher Christian Vázquez intervened. Whether it was intentional or not, it proved costly when Carlos Correa feathered a single into left field later in the inning to score Bregman, who chirped toward Kelly as he headed toward home plate.

Tis a strange game indeed when it feels like the team that lost felt like it was in danger of giving up more HBPs than hits…..

QLE Posted: October 14, 2018 at 07:10 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: alcs, astros, red sox

 

 

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