The one knock on Betts was his arm. It appears that knock is no longer valid.
“I didn’t know I could really do that,” Betts said. “I think we were all kind of surprised there.”
For the second straight night, the Red Sox used an eighth-inning defensive play to preserve its advantage in a crucial game. With the Blue Jays beating the Angels on Tuesday, the Red Sox needed—and got—a win to stay tied with the Blue Jays atop the American League East.
Betts said he knows his arm has gotten stronger in the outfield, and he’s been able to get more backspin on his throws. It all showed in a tangible way as Kiermaier planted his face on the ground in frustration after his tying run was wiped off the bases just as soon as he got the hit.
“Just kind of in shock there at third base how I got thrown out,” Kiermaier said. “I watched the video after the game and saw he made an absolutely perfect throw. I always want to put the pressure on the defense, and it’s going to take a perfect throw to throw me out. In this moment, he made an absolutely perfect throw.”
That fastball. It’s arguably the best in the minor leagues, and it is certainly the fastest. He hit 105 miles per hour in his third start off the disabled list, and now constantly hits in the high-90s. It’s fair to think that he is getting by with his fastball alone, but his secondary offerings are also improved.
His slider was once mediocre with inconsistent control, but like his fastball, it has become a pitch that has some power behind it. He lands his slider in the low-90s, and a 90 mile-per-hour slider is Noah Syndergaard-like. The God of Thunder seems to be doing just fine with his fastball and slider at the big league level.
His changeup was a hardly-usable pitch by most reports heading into the season, but he has developed some drop and consistency with it. He can strike out batters with the pitch, recorded in the upper-80s. That may seem high-velocity for a changeup, but when you calculate the fact the batters are seeing the other pitches in the high-90s, that’s a 10 mph drop-off. Th pitch also seems to have some movement, as MLB Pipeline sees a nice late drop to the pitch.
“For each trade you make there are 20 that didn’t work,” said Rizzo. “It’s a process that takes time and requires great research by our staff. We’re not afraid to make a deal. For me, when the deal succeeds for both teams it’s a success.
“We have great discussions with our staff. We have great debates. I want people to tell me I’m wrong and back it up with how they feel about a player. We love analytics, but what this is all about is the scout who drives that extra 100 miles to see a player and make an evaluation and a scout who is strong in his convictions about what he sees and how that player can help our ball club. That’s what we have that’s so great.”
“You’re supposed to sit on your ass and nod at stupid things,” the late Warren Zevon sang on his tribute to the former big league pitcher Bill Lee. But the free-spirit player, known to most as “Spaceman,” wasn’t about to do that — and it eventually cost him his career after a one-game walkout.
... So you sat through the film?
Yeah, uncomfortably, in Montreal. It was funny, cute. I loved the ending, which has me pitching in San Rafael, kissing the ground. It doesn’t make me look like I’m on a prayer rug. Well, I am on a prayer rug. It’s called a ball field.
Bloodlust rages with each bullpen meltdown, a one-sided social media referendum calling for Farrell to lose his job. On the heels of a six-game winning streak, a single defeat – granted, a brutal one – is sufficient to unleash nitroglycerin. Yet despite the trending prominence of #firefarrell calls in the wake of defeats, the Red Sox haven’t dropped the guillotine and they almost surely aren’t going to do so this season.
How well does the manager work with the GM/president of baseball operations and the front office? In a Red Sox organization where Dombrowski is empowered with immense authority on personnel decisions, this is arguably the most important factor in the manager’s job status. That being the case, the fact that Farrell’s relationship with Dombrowski and other members of the front office is considered strong and productive represents a significant factor in explaining why Dombrowski has remained committed to him.
“He has not changed his approach in the four-hole,” said Farrell. “He doesn’t take on any added significance to the role or the spot in the lineup. He’s in some kind of spot right now the way he’s seeing the baseball, the way he’s making such hard contact.”
The baseball schedule can be tough, especially come August, but some in Boston believe this is more than just some bad scheduling luck. At least one columnist, Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald, suggests that the day game in Detroit on Thursday may have something to do with the Tigers former relationship with Sox’ president Dave Dombrowski:
The Red Sox tried to get the Tigers to push the start time back to late afternoon or evening when the times were set in the offseason. Major League Baseball said the Tigers could start the game whenever they wanted to, and Detroit refused to accommodate the Sox.
The Tigers have some prior history of Thursday afternoon starts. Another part of their history is that Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski was relieved of his duties as Detroit general manager last summer.
Is this some kind of a less-than-fond farewell card from the Tigers? Al Avila, bumped up to GM after serving as Dombrowski’s assistant, said yesterday that he doesn’t set game times. A request to speak with another Tigers executive yesterday went unanswered.
Silverman acknowledges that “maybe this has nothing to do with Dombrowski,” but still calls it a “bush league move.”
As I mentioned in a previous post, one of the first players I ever interacted with was Bill Lee. The 8 year-old me idolized big leaguers, so having one smile, joke around, sign an autograph and spend a few minutes was the greatest thing ever. I stopped idolizing players a long time ago but childhood memories and feelings linger long after we grow up.
The 23-year-old Betts is one of the game’s rising stars, and he is hitting his way into the American League’s Most Valuable Player Award discussion.
Following his 4-for-6 display on Sunday, Betts had a slash line of .313/.353./.561 with 91 runs scored, 34 doubles, five triples, 26 homers and 84 RBIs.
Most scientists conduct their experiments in the seclusion of their labs, far away from eyes that might judge their work before they’ve reached conclusions. Back in 2008, when they were pitching together with the Kansas City Royals, Brian Bannister and Zack Greinke conducted their experiments in front of more than 37,000 people.
Bannister and Greinke had come across early data on pitch velocity and movement generated by a camera system mounted at major-league stadiums, a system now widely known as PITCHF/x. Perhaps unwittingly, Major League Baseball had made the raw data accessible to anyone who knew how to download it. By 2007, amateur baseball analysts had uncovered and begun to convert the data into a form that was accessible to people without advanced programming skills.
The beneficiaries of their work included Bannister and Greinke. What set Bannister and Greinke apart from other analysts was not just that their livelihood depended on the data but that they could affect the data being collected.
“It really turned my world upside down,” Bannister said.
So I go on Twitter and see a comment about injuries being avoidable for pinch-running pitchers. I reply with, “That’s what I was thinking when the Red Sox had Steven Wright pinch-run recently.” Then I scroll down and find out that Steven Wright actually got hurt during his pinch-running appearance.
It was one legend saying hello—and goodbye—to another Sunday when the Boston Red Sox’s David Ortiz visited the Dodger Stadium press box for hugs and handshakes with longtime broadcaster Vin Scully.
Ortiz is in his 20th and final season with the Red Sox. Scully is in his 67th and final season behind the microphone for the Dodgers. The powerhouse duo met before the series finale between the Dodgers and Red Sox.
In a video clip of the meeting Sunday, provided by the Dodgers, Ortiz told Scully, “We all love you. We’re all going to miss you.”
It was the first time that Reddick, who became a Dodger on Monday in a deadline-day trade with the Oakland A’s, had met Ortiz in person.
“Immediately I knew I loved the guy because he put all the hitters into a room and he talked for a solid hour about hitting and how to approach things,” Reddick recalled. “That right there was a great first impression when I got there. (In the majors) he was the same guy. He came up to me and talked to me about what the starter had that night. Told me to come to the cage with him. Just broke down every single aspect of this game, of hitting, that you could.
“I was just in awe. I just sat there and listened.”
Major League Baseball is reviewing the Padres’ process of disclosing medical information to other teams before last week’s trade deadline, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.com. The league is looking into San Diego’s deal with Miami involving Colin Rea, as well as the trade that sent Drew Pomeranz to the Red Sox for Anderson Espinoza.
Rea was originally traded from the Padres to the Marlins as part of a 7-player deal on July 29, but lasted only 3.1 innings in his first start with Miami before coming out due to elbow discomfort. Miami then sent Rea back to the Padres on deadline day in exchange for pitching prospect Luis Castillo, and San Diego announced today that Rea will indeed undergo Tommy John surgery.
Olney reports that Rea had ongoing elbow troubles dating back to his time with San Diego, and that the Marlins were unaware of those issues when they swung the deal for the right-hander. The Marlins were understandably upset when Rea’s injury surfaced, and worked to remedy the issue by re-acquiring Castillo within 48 hours.
Olney’s most interesting revelation is that Boston has “become aware of medical information with Pomeranz that they believe was not properly disclosed in trade talks.” Pomeranz has made four starts for Boston, and despite posting a 6.20 ERA over 20.1 innings, has not shown any signs of injury to this point. The lefty dealt with some shoulder trouble last season with the Athletics, but has been healthy to this point this season.